Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Axis of Evil?

Tell me you're shocked when you see this picture:

I'm not. Except it's not really what you think. It's not a regularly scheduled meeting of the Domineering Owners Club. The Old Rich White Guy Ownership Association? The Loose Skin Gray Hair Society? Aviators and Dr. 90210? Turtlenecks and Neck-tucks?

These guys are uniting to form a new stadium hospitality company. In short, they want to make your stadium experiences better.
The New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, Goldman Sachs and CIC Partners today announced that they have founded Legends Hospitality Management, LLC), a new company that will offer a broad range of sports business services. Legends’ initial focus will be on operating catering, concessions, retail merchandising and other facility management enterprises for major sports and entertainment facilities.
Pete Abe provides his usual spot-on analysis and wit:
What this means: Teams have traditionally provided concessions via an independent company such as Aramark or Centerplate. Those companies pay for the rights to operate in the stadiums.

The Yankees and Cowboys borrowed $100 million from Goldman Sachs and will form their own company to handle food, team stores, etc. at their new stadiums. Much of this will be to enhance the atmosphere in the suites. The company hopes to branch out to other teams, arenas and colleges.

By cutting out the middleman, the teams theoretically should make more money. This seems like a smart move by the Steinbrenners. Hal Steinbrenner spoke about a year ago about such ventures and Hank Steinbrenner, you may recall, once predicted the Yankees could work with the Red Sox. This is the kind of thing they were talking about.

In time, I suspect you’ll see teams share a cable network or a radio network. The Yankees and Cowboys reach across a lot boundaries and demographics.

Meanwhile, George Steinbrenner is apparently going for a
Weekend At Bernie’s look as he meets Jerry Jones.
Let it be thusly noted, it's once again about the money. And, for all the anti-Yankee fans out there, this is just another way the Yanks are flexing their financial might. First it was the YES Network, then there was the agreement with Man U. And now they are getting into hospitality. So when your favorite team cries poverty, ask them why they haven't branched out vertically or horizontally.

Hate them all you want, but you have to be impressed with the behind the scenes management team who probably got this done. There are probably some really bright strategy guys as well as creative bankers (what credit crisis? Need $100 million, sure!) who made sure this got done.

Of course, it was just yesterday when I noted the Jerry Jones "I'm not like him" comment with the great retort, even though the original comment by Jones wasn't made yesterday. Good times, my friends.

Any chance Marion Barber can play 1B?

No comments: