Thursday
Oct082009

IMG Joins Yankees, Cowboys In College Market Revenue-Generating Venture

October 8, 2009: Global sports, entertainment and media company IMG Worldwide has entered into an agreement with Legends Hospitality Management to provide premium seat licensing (PSL), suite and ticket sales services to the college market.

Financial details were not revealed, but the two sides called it a "50/50 joint venture" to be known as IMG-Legends. Legends, which is owned the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Goldman Sachs and CIC Partners, is a sports business enterprise developed to help team owners, stadium operators and athletic directors increase revenue through such service offerings as concessions, retail and premium seat sales. The partnership will initially focus on PSL programs but will also offer Legends’ ability to provide food and beverage concessions to fans.

The $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium, which opened for business over the summer, was partially funded by a "one-of-a-kind PSL and suite program that generated more than five times the previous record sold in any stadium," according to IMG and Legends.

An article in The New York Times last year on PSLs in the NFL reported, "Until the Cowboys introduced drastically higher prices for their stadium . . . teams initially sold their [PSLs] for a few hundred dollars to $10,000. The Cowboys are marketing their high-end seats as a luxury product, pricing club seat licenses at $16,000, $35,000 and $50,000, before leading to $100,000 and $150,000 each." The Times article added that prior to the opening of Lincoln Financial Field in 2003, the Philadelphia Eagles "sold 29,000 seat licenses for $1,800-$2,700, raising $70 million. By contrast the Cowboys could raise as much as $300 million."

“This new partnership brings our college clients the expertise and proven track record of two of the most successful and popular sports franchises in the country,” Ted Forstmann, IMG’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “The Dallas Cowboys’ experience and model for developing PSL programs through Legends will be extremely valuable as we continue to develop new marketing and revenue opportunities for the top brands in college sports.”

Added Hal Steinbrenner, managing general partner of the Yankees, “Whether it’s in Yankee Stadium or on a college campus, fans want a high quality game environment. We’ve seen that fans [who] enjoy the seating and the game experience become loyal fans [who] return year after year.”  Back to Home Page