Earlier this year, owners from the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, as well as arguably the biggest sports agency in the world in Creative Arts Agency partnered up to create a new venture called Elevate Sports Ventures. Elevate’s primary focus is on stadium licenses, premium ticketing, and corporate hospitality in venues around the globe. Their first target? Seattle’s soon-to-be-renovated-KeyArena.
That’s because Elevate has announced a new partnership with the Oak View Group - as well as their previous partners LiveNation and Ticketmaster. “We look forward to diving more into the Seattle project and the work we will do there on behalf of our partners at OVG,” 49ers President Al Guido told Forbes. “We are currently putting plans together to ready ourselves for the launch; working with OVG on the design aspects they’ve put together with Populous, working through design concepts for premium areas and suites, working on experience centers and more. We look forward to sharing the new brand and story of this building with the sports and entertainment industry and the city of Seattle; the entertainment center is an integral piece of telling that story.”
“With Tim [Leiweke, OVG’s CEO] coming on board now, our group is putting capital at play here,” said Guido in a separate interview with SportsPro. “We’re actually going in and financing these arenas and buildings, so that is very different than anything that’s out there in the world today. It puts us in play with the other large facility operators, whether they be the SMGs or the AEGs, and now we’re just adding strategic arms or verticals on top of that.
“We feel as though we’ve now stepped out of the consulting fee-based business and we’re really in the operations, sales and marketing, capital financing business, which is a game-changer for us.”
Elevate and Oak View Group will be full partners on the new arena. Elevate will focus on creating revenue from premium and corporate suites, as well as handle the marketing.
“It’s such a historic opportunity because the property, KeyArena, has got great tradition and history if you think about not just the sports but the content,” Guido said. “Can you think about an area inside the US that’s better known for music, culture, diversity? For us, the ability to restore an iconic venue by keeping the roof structure, lifting the building, spending US$600 million to renovate it - I put it on par with the Madison Square Gardens of the world.
“I think it’s going to revitalize downtown Seattle. Obviously we’re excited about launching an NHL brand. We think it’s going to do tremendous economic impact inside of that region. Who knows what the future is ten years from now relative to the sports landscape, but the start is rebuilding KeyArena.”