Tonight in Unpacks: Today’s stadiums are complicated beasts, with factors that include green building and advanced technology. As SBJ’s Bret McCormick reports, outfits like Turner Construction place a great deal of importance and trust in the partnerships they form with other companies to build venues like the Bills’ and Titans’ new stadiums.
- MLB: The Show maintains spot as lone sports entry in top July video game sellers
- Levy tastings are a blend of art and science influencing new menu items
- Mattel expands NFL Little People Collector line to all 32 teams
- FanDuel Sportsbook teams with YouTube for ‘NFL Sunday Ticket’ discount
- Op-ed: Women’s soccer fans desire more team apparel
- Jalen Hurts becomes new face of ‘Hulu Has Live Sports’ campaign
In this morning’s Buzzcast, SBJ’s Abe Madkour opens the week with:
- Leagues Cup final a big night for MLS, Messi and Nashville
- Sunday’s WWC final caps off great tournament for FIFA
- USTA moving ahead with late-night matches at U.S. Open
- ‘College GameDay’ will kick off ‘Weekend Menu’ activation with Inspired Brands
- Netflix, NASCAR working together on docu-series for playoffs
- Texas wants to lock down AD Chris Del Conte through 2030
- Jaylen Bown’s classy appreciation of NBA media
For at least the third time, Turner Construction has two NFL stadium projects going at once: the Bills’ New Highmark Stadium, and the Titans’ new venue in Nashville. And in both cases, reports SBJ’s Bret McCormick, Turner is building the stadiums as part of a joint venture with another contractor. In Buffalo, where work is already underway, Turner is partnered with Gilbane, which has a strong presence in the Northeast. In Tennessee, Turner is partnered with AECOM Hunt, a firm it has worked with for building or renovating 17 NFL stadiums.
“The jobs have doubled in size and they’re so advanced, technology-wise. Major stadiums now are major architectural statements,” Turner Construction SVP/Sports and Public Assembly Dewey Newton said. “They’re not just bricks and mortar and concourse and toilets. The complexity, the capacity that we have to service a billion-dollar job, versus a $600 million job, requires us to take on a partner, and the same [applies to] our competitors.”
Turner has offices in 45 U.S. cities, including one in upstate New York, where Gilbane incidentally has an office, too. Turner has had a booming office in Nashville for over two decades, but that outpost has little pro sports experience. Turner will have between 70 and a hundred people on-site running the Titans’ project, which would sap the Nashville office’s total capacity. AECOM Hunt, the construction brand of AECOM’s multinational conglomerate, helps Turner in both situations. Turner’s fees are usually in the 2% to 3% range for these NFL projects, which is a consistent range for their competitors, too.
“We take on what we can, but we’re always looking for, in my group, sports people to build capacity even when the market slows down because the world goes on. People retire,” Newton said. “These are big, giant buildings that [take] three to four years to build, and sometimes people get tired of traveling. I look for people no matter what the market is.”
In a traditionally stagnant month for licensed sports games sales, MLB: The Show 23 was the only sports entry in the top 10 of Circana’s July 2023 video game sale report, as Street Fighter VI and a resurgent Call of Duty franchise led the way for esports games, reports SBJ’s Jason Wilson.
Coming off a successful Evo 2023 fighting-game tournament, Capcom’s Street Fighter VI finished eighth after debuting at No. 3 in June. An Xbox promotion for the Call of Duty franchise, along with server fixes that improved play for older games, helped boost sales increases for three of the series’ games: Modern Warfare II, Black Ops II and Black Ops III.
MLB: The Show finished 10th after coming in at No 8. in June. FIFA 23 was the only other sports game in the top 20 at 15th after coming in at 11th last month.
It would be hard to say how the tasting experience for Levy, which provides F&B services for 300 sports and entertainment venues and events, compares to those held by concessions competitors. This type of event is rarely open to the public, and the menus for similar events held with season-ticket members are usually fully baked, so to speak. It’s rare to get a window into such an early part of the process.
In this week’s cover story, SBJ’s Bret McCormick attended one such session, giving readers a taste of Levy’s shift from anecdotal decision-making to decision-making born from data and analysis was one of its most significant changes and is evident in the tastings, which are now a blend of art and science. That includes the actual act of tasting food, which requires discipline by the eater. The regular attendees’ advice to the newcomer: “if something tastes good, take one bite and sit it down.” Easier said than done.
Mattel is rolling out its biggest licensed product launch to date for its Fisher-Price division, expanding the line of NFL Little People Collector sets to include all 32 teams, reports SBJ’s Austin Karp.
The brand, which signed a licensing deal with the NFL and NFLPA earlier this year, will have three players and a “super fan” as Little People figures in packages (each box with team marks). Earlier this year, the Chiefs were featured in a Little People set after winning Super Bowl LVII (Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Chris Jones were featured).
FanDuel Sportsbook will offer new and returning customers $100 off “NFL Sunday Ticket” subscriptions this season through a deal with YouTube designed to drive signups for both FanDuel and first-year “Sunday Ticket” distributor YouTube, reports SBJ’s Bill King.
The offer — $100 off “Sunday Ticket” plus $200 in bonus bets for new customers; and the same “Sunday Ticket” discount for bettors who already have an FanDuel account — comes as YouTube works to migrate fans who for decades purchased “Sunday Ticket” exclusively through DirectTV and as FanDuel looks to land first-time NFL bettors and convert those betting with other operators.
Tonight’s op-ed comes from educators Katie Sveinson (UMass), Keith Parry (Bournemouth University), Jessica Richards (Western Sydney University) and soccer/EDI consultant Beth Clarkson on how women’s soccer is failing fans at retail.
“Fans want to spend their money to show their love of the sport and support for their teams. By not meeting consumer needs, organizations and distributors are missing the opportunity to convert plentiful inventory into long-term loyalty.”
Read the full submission here.
- Hulu unveiled Eagles QB Jalen Hurts as the new face of its “Hulu Has Live Sports” campaign with a 30-second spot that will be running on national TV and other platforms, notes SBJ’s Austin Karp.
- Former NFLers Will Compton and Taylor Lewan expect to focus more on their “Bussin’ With The Boys” Barstool Sports podcast now that both are out of the league, writes SBJ’s Trevona Williams, and they plan to bring back their “College Tailgate Tour,” which includes Nebraska-Michigan in “The Bussin’ Bowl” for Week 5.
- In this week’s Athlete’s Voice, LPGA pro Cheyenne Knight (who earned her second tour win at last month’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational) credits SuperSpeed for improvements in swing speed and dive distance, reports SBJ’s Rob Schaefer.
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