Expect New Tax Code to Stimulate Growth in Secondary Market for Luxury Suites
The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress has already had sweeping effects on nearly every industry, including the market for tickets and luxury suites at sporting events and concerts. Prior to the new tax code, companies used to be able to write off 50% of all “entertainment, amusement, or recreation” expenses, such as treating clients to golf outings or entertainment events in a luxury box. With the new legislation, the cost of luxury suites are technically no longer tax deductible. (This may prompt some companies to categorize these expenses as an advertising expense or some other fully-deductible line item; however, that posture comes with some degree of tax audit peril. Most companies shy away from this risk and will indeed categorize their luxury suite expense as entertainment.)
Essentially, from an economic standpoint, the price for a company to own a luxury suite has risen, despite venues making no changes to their pricing. As written by Bloomberg Politics, “Luxury boxes at stadiums and arenas — along with theater and concert tickets — will be more costly for firms that use them to woo clients.” Firms must now search for solutions to maintain the level of client satisfaction that has driven positive results to their bottom line for years, while also being wary of the increased price of their luxury suite – this is where the secondary market comes into play.
With the post-tax price of a luxury suite increasing, businesses will look to minimize their luxury suite expense as much as possible and return to the prices they were comfortable paying before the tax legislation was passed. The easiest way to do so is by exploring the secondary market for luxury suites. Through exchange platforms such as Suite Experience Group, firms that are no longer as comfortable paying high lease prices for luxury suites can sell individual game suites to buyers in the marketplace. By participating in the secondary market, businesses are able to recoup some of their original investment. According to one corporate suiteholder who asked to remain anonymous, “We are strongly considering cancelling our suite lease at the end of this year and simply purchasing events on an as-needed game-by-game basis moving forward.”
Financial Impact on Corporate Suiteholders
Allan Ratafia, Managing Partner of Ratafia and Company, CPA’s and Build Your Firm Inc, presents a basic example to demonstrate how the new legislation will impact the secondary market. Assume Firm A has $100,000 in revenues, a luxury suite expense of $80,000 (assume this is the firm’s only expense), and the corporate tax rate is 40%. Under the old tax legislation, 50% of the $80,000 entertainment expense was tax deductible, meaning $40,000 can be deducted from Firm A’s revenues. This would leave $60,000 in taxable income, and with a 40% tax rate, Firm A would have to pay $24,000 in income taxes. Now with the new tax legislation, 0% of the entertainment expense can be deducted from Firm A’s revenues, resulting in $100,000 of taxable income. Firm A would now have to pay 40% of $100,000, meaning $40,000 must be paid in income taxes. Firm A would pay $16,000 more in taxes, effectively increasing the cost of its luxury suite by 20% to $96,000 ($80,000 + $16,000).
Mr. Ratafia, who has been practicing as a tax accountant and financial advisor since 1988, argues that some firms will look to recover that increase by allocating and selling a set number of games in the secondary market. “I just might not give my clients as many games. If I have 8 home NFL games, I may only treat my clients to 6 of the games, and I will look to recover the costs of the other 2 games to compensate for the tax increase under the new rules. If we’re going with the same numbers as before, selling 25% of my tickets would bring back $20,000 in cash to my company, making up for the steeper income taxes, $16,000 above, I now have to pay.”
Effect on Teams and Venues
In addition to the current impact of the tax reform, which suggests firms will look to resell their suites at a greater rate, the potential impact on teams in the near future must not be ignored. When companies decide whether or not they should renew their suite leases in the coming years, executives may have more hesitation to do so than in years past. While some companies will still renew their leases, many will determine that luxury suites – now bearing an additional cost – are no longer worth the investment to their firm.
Teams and venues that derive significant revenue from luxury suites essentially have two levers to offset the tax impact on their leaseholders: significantly lower prices for luxury suites, or encourage the usage of secondary markets to sell the suite for underutilized events. Firms will be more willing to renew their luxury suite leases if they are made aware of the potential to resell the suite for individual events. The ability to recoup a portion of this investment is an attractive feature for leaseholders and will also play a role in how much, if any, teams and venues will actually re-price their suite tickets. The secondary market can ease the concerns of leaseholders and incentivize them to renew their luxury suite leases with teams.
The secondary market for luxury suites is more important now than ever before. Teams have an opportunity to encourage the use of the secondary market by their leaseholders or risk losing those suiteholders who aren’t willing to pay the steeper costs. While each suiteholder will react differently to the new tax rules, suiteholders can shift from defense to offense by using the secondary market to offset the higher cost of the lease.
NFL Disney World: Massive Los Angeles Stadium Underway
NFL returns to the City of Angels
Los Angeles is one of the United States’ most recognizable and populated areas. Home to two NBA, two MLB, one MLS, and one NHL franchise, not to mention the fervent rivalry between local university athletic programs UCLA and USC, it’s safe to say that L.A. is a great sports city. However, since 1994, LA has lacked professional football. This is changing in a big way; starting this upcoming 2017 NFL season, the Chargers will join the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams to bring two NFL franchises to the greater Los Angeles Area. The Bolts were founded in Los Angeles in 1960 before heading south to San Diego the following season.
Filling the Stadiums
Will Los Angeles be able to support not one, but two football franchises? Last season, the Rams were welcomed back with open arms, selling out 70,000 season tickets and drawing a crowd of over 91,000 to their season opener at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams’ evaluation jumped from $1.45B to $2.9B after moving, good for 3rd highest in the NFL behind the Cowboys and Patriots. The Los Angeles Chargers will move into the StubHub Center, home of the LA Galaxy. At a capacity of 30,000, it is well below the NFL’s required minimum of 50,000. However, this location is temporary, as both the Rams and Chargers will move into the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, which is currently under construction in Inglewood, for the 2020 NFL season.
Los Angeles Stadium Quick Facts
- 298 acres, 3.5 times the size of Disneyland
- Expected to hold 70,240 seats, plus 25,000 in standing room only tickets behind end zones
- 260 luxury suites, 7 different varieties
- Joins MetLife Stadium (home of the NY Giants and NY Jets) as the only stadiums that are shared by two NFL franchises
- Privately funded, expected cost of $2.6B is over $1 billion more than next most costly stadium in the world (MetLife)
- Will host Super Bowl LVI in 2022
- 19-acre transparent canopy to cover stadium
In addition to battling for and receiving NFL franchises, Los Angeles will host the summer Olympics in 2028. The Los Angeles Stadium is expected to host the Opening Ceremony, soccer, and archery events.
Though the stadium is several years from being completed, the first 125 luxury suites have already been marketed to potential leaseholders. If you simply cannot wait, you can purchase a suite for the Los Angeles Rams at Memorial Coliseum or the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center with Suite Experience Group today.
The High End Sharing Economy: An Analysis of the Resale market for Luxury Suites at Sporting Events and Concerts
- There are $8 Billion worth of luxury suites leased annually in North America. Leaseholders are projected to resell $100 Million of these suites in 2017.
- This ‘secondary market’ for suites is growing rapidly with the rise of online marketplaces solely dedicated to supporting suite leaseholder resale.
- This paper focuses on how teams/venues, suite leaseholders and single-event suite buyers stand to benefit from a larger secondary market:
- Teams: Suite resale is happening in nearly all venues in North America that have suites. Teams can either contest resale or embrace it. This paper argues that by sanctioning suite resale, teams will improve their lease renewal rate, bring in new buyers to the stadium, and gain and additional revenue channel.
- Leaseholders: Suite leases are key to the funding of new stadiums. Many newer venues are pushing the length of suite leases to ten years or more. Leaseholders are increasingly seeking solutions to monetize the events they don’t plan to attend over the course of a lease.
- Buyers: Entertainment in luxury suites has a proven ROI for corporations. Concurrently, increasing levels of spend are being directed towards experiences over possessions. As buyers learn that they can access suites on an event-by-event basis, the overall size of the resale market will continue to grow. Dedicated online marketplaces have been established to allow buyers to purchase the unused suites being offered by sellers.
- There will be an increased level of collaboration between venues and secondary market platforms as venues look to keep their suite leaseholders satisfied and foster incremental revenue streams. While the level of sophistication and liquidity in the resale market for luxury suites is far behind the market for tickets, the suite market is advancing rapidly for the benefit of teams, venues, leaseholders, and buyers.
White Paper: Analysis of the Resale Market for Luxury Suites at Sporting Events and Concerts
Imagine the sales team of a regional insurance company, standing in the parking lot outside Ford Field in Detroit. The Lions are playing the Bears, but the sales team is missing the game. They take $50,000 cash out of a duffel bag and burn it in a nearby trashcan. Why would anyone do such a thing? Actually, this happens more than you think at stadiums around the country. Allow me to explain:
Companies that don’t fully utilize their multi-year luxury suite leases at stadiums and arenas are burning cash just like that poor insurance company. The Association of Luxury Suite Directors estimates that $8 Billion per year is spent on sports on sports and concert suites. InviteManager estimates that 43% of these already leased suites go unused or underutilized. When you do the math, that’s a lot of figurative piles of cash going up in flames in parking lots around the country.
Mirroring the broader rise of the sharing economy, the companies and individuals who own suites are beginning to take action to achieve a better return on their investment, while venues increasingly push for longer and longer terms on their suite lease agreements. It’s a market in want of liquidity, and leaseholders are increasingly seeking-out and finding ways to monetize the suites they can’t use.
Proactive leaseholders have taken to listing their suites on far-ranging sites, including Craigslist and eBay, to offload the games they cannot attend. Those sites, however, do not provide an adequate user experience or protection for buyers or sellers. As a result, sophisticated suite-focused vertical marketplaces, such as Suite Experience Group, have stepped in to fulfill the needs of leaseholders.
This paper examines the shifting needs of venues, suite leaseholders, and single-event buyers and predicts how the industry will play out for all the parties involved.
Live sports are a proven business development and marketing tool. Suites are often used for extended face time with clients and prospects in an intimate and exciting environment. As Steph Curry makes electrifying plays on the court, business executives high above on the suite level of Oracle Arena are closing deals of their own.
Businesses understand the value of luxury suites and the cachet that they bring. The most expensive suites on a per-event basis can be found in the NFL, where the typical cost of leasing a suite for an 8 game NFL season is $200,000, or about $25,000 per game (note: pre-season games are included in the leases but hold very little value on the resale market).
The challenge is that the long-term leasing model is vitally important to the teams. The contractual revenue of the suite lease is used to justify bonds issued to build stadiums (Lawrence, Kahler and Contorno, Ohio University). This structure heavily favors teams and venues by locking in suite leaseholders to a multiyear commitment. However, increasingly, suite leaseholders are expecting increased salability of individual events from this large investment, analogous to what they now achieve with other assets (e.g. earning revenue from unused time at a beach home listed on Airbnb). As suite leaseholders pursue resale opportunities, the response from teams and venues has been varied: progressive teams are adjusting their business models to accommodate and support leaseholder resale, while other teams have been slower to respond.
Irrespective of whether a particular team or venue has adopted a sanctioned resale platform, leaseholders can lean on numerous resources that facilitate peer-to-peer sharing of suites, for which owners and renters would otherwise encounter difficulty finding each other.
A secondary market for luxury suites benefits all actors involved: the teams, the suite leaseholders, and the single game/event suite buyers. As evidence of how teams have started to embrace suite resale, many of the nations leading venues have decided to sell a number of suites directly to ticket brokers, including Staples Center, Verizon Center, TD Garden, Wells Fargo Center, Angel Stadium, and AT&T Stadium. Concurrently, professional secondary market suite platforms are beginning to bring order to this previously illiquid and unreliable industry.
How The Secondary Market Helps Leaseholders Avoid Excess Inventory
For leaseholders, the secondary suite market provides flexibility. The nation’s marquee arenas, such as New York’s Madison Square Garden, may host over 200 events per year. Filling suites for these events becomes a full-time job for leaseholders, a job they may not have the time or capability to carry out effectively. When arenas force leaseholders to commit to the events from multiple franchises and non-sports events, the financial commitment rises, while the marginal benefit of each incremental event decreases. Owners who resell their suite for games they can’t attend feel more secure knowing that games they inevitably cannot attend will be monetized.
Ticket management software such as TicketOS and InviteManager make it easier for firms to understand the ROI on their tickets and suites. The data shows that small to medium-sized companies and high net-worth individuals are the leaseholders most likely to take advantage of the increased liquidity in the market.
From a buyer perspective, a suite lease agreement is a multi-year commitment that can scare off all but the largest of companies. Indeed, many entities simply don’t need so many events. For example, the organizers of trade shows, conferences and conventions may host only one or two networking events a year, (often in different cities from year-to-year). However, buying a suite for a single game on the secondary market is a less significant investment that is much more appealing to these types of companies who otherwise could not afford a multi-year lease (or for companies that want to spread their event spend across multiple cities). The value here is that these smaller companies now can work on their client relationships the same way the largest businesses do. In addition to being cost efficient, it helps level the playing field where small companies can project a more impressive image, even if it’s just for one night.
The luxury suite market is beneficial for all constituents involved: the team, the leaseholder, and the single event buyer.
How Is Supply And Demand Affecting Suite Prices?
Suite prices are directly correlated with a number of factors, including the strength of the matchup, the day of the week, the location of the suite, and the number of the suites on the market. In general, re-sale is becoming more lucrative due to the fact that supply of suites in new stadiums is actually declining after a multi-decade rise in the number of suites in North America. Following the basic laws of supply and demand, as the number of suites in new and existing venues declines (and demand remains at least constant) the value of any given suite will rise. As owners and city municipalities pool resources to create state-of-the-art stadiums, suites serve as an important staple of the building plans. However, stadium builders are wary of an over saturation of suites that could result in supply far exceeding demand. As a result, there are fewer suites for more prospective owners, driving up the price both on the primary market as well as the secondary market. These suite leases serve as a form of bond for the stadium, as the majority of leases are signed before the inaugural season begins, the money is used to help finance the stadium construction (source: Wall Street Journal).
Here is a breakdown of the number of suites for a number of the most recent stadiums built with a comparison to the number of suites in the prior venue. The new venues, on average, have 23% fewer suites.
Though there may be fewer physical suites in newer venues, this is counterbalanced by the trend towards the multi-tenant and multi-use venues – there are more and more events being packed into each venue. As expenses continue to rise for building stadiums, team owners try maximizing revenue by booking as many events per year as possible. For example, Madison Square Garden may host a Knicks game on Thursday, the Rangers on Friday, and a Billy Joel concert on Saturday. As this trend grows, many suite owners will be forced to deal with an excess supply of events.
The Sharing Economy Model of Suite Resale
Peer-to-peer sharing is becoming a staple of the economy, as illustrated by the extravagant market value of companies such as Uber and Airbnb. Successful platforms implement sharing by minimizing the marginal cost of new user acquisition (e.g., the headache and expense of identifying a qualified renter of a summer house) compared to the marginal revenue that is brought in.
Oxford defines the sharing economy as “An economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either free or for a fee, typically by means of the Internet.” This paper will not go in depth about what the sharing economy is, or why it is important. There is already a good deal of writing about the virtues of this business model. Rather, it should be emphasized that the sharing economy model applies to luxury assets, not just normal goods, because it makes them more accessible.
While luxury goods have different characteristics from normal goods, the mechanisms of collaborative consumption still apply to both in the same manner. Luxury suites or villas can be re-sold while still maintaining initial value. One could worry that the stigma of renting as opposed to owning might dissuade potential buyers with high socioeconomic standing. However, the ease and availability of goods on sharing economy platforms counteracts this.
The sharing economy model has been at work in the ticketing business since the early 2000’s, when StubHub created a marketplace for the resale of regular seats. While there was skepticism regarding the viability of these types of companies at their inception, today the secondary market for tickets is an essential aspect of the ticketing landscape.
Compared to a seller of a single event seller on StubHub, a suite leaseholder must be careful when deciding who to sell to- leaseholders don’t want a rowdy bachelor party in their suite damaging items. In response to this concern, sharing platforms of high value assets, such as Airbnb and Suite Experience Group have implemented systems to vet prospective buyers and protect the asset owners from liability and damages.
The liquidity and sophistication of the luxury suite market is currently 10 years behind the ticket market. The suite market is at an inflection point where teams now have a chance to better control and monetize the secondary suite market in a way they were slow to act on in the early days of the ticket market. As the secondary market for suites continues to grow, savvy teams are forging partnerships with secondary market platforms to benefit from transactions that are already taking place.
Teams – The Business Case For Teams And Venues To Embrace Leaseholder Suite Resale
There are four primary reasons why suite resale is good for the teams. First, it allows suite leaseholders (often the team’s best customers) to achieve a better ROI on their lease, and they will be more likely to renew that at the end of the term. Second, new buyers are introduced to suites, establishing a pipeline of future lease prospects. Third, the ambience in the venue improves when suites that would otherwise have sat empty are now bustling with fans. Lastly, resale contributes revenue to teams in the form of increased catering spend, as well as direct revenue from secondary market partners.
A team’s approach to resale should be tailored specifically to the market size and demand level of the team. Low-demand teams should pursue different strategies from high-demand teams. Specifically, high demand teams should partner with secondary players to gain insight into and control over the resale activity occurring by their suite leaseholders. Low demand teams should sell their own inventory by using secondary market as a wholesale channel. Resale is already happening at varying levels at every venue in North America, and teams would be wise to find a strategy to benefit from it rather than ignore it.
Leaseholders – Selling Unused Capacity Maximizes The ROI Of The Suite Lease
The largest beneficiary of suite resale is perhaps the suite leaseholder. Prospective leaseholders are increasingly taking the time to investigate their secondary market options even before they sign a lease. The long-term commitment required becomes less of a concern if they know that they can sell their suite for the events they don’t want. If leaseholders are assured that they will be able to find buyers for these events, then they will be less hesitant to buy the suite initially. In this regard, the secondary market is boosting confidence in the primary market.
Prudent businesses will not leave money on the table if the alternative is just handing out tickets for free to family members or whoever is in the office the latest on a Friday. The money they are saving from the events they don’t attend can now be re-invested into the company.
Buyers – Single Event Usage Of Luxury Suites Introduces Smaller Companies To The Big Leagues of Business Entertainment
One of the inherent benefits of the sharing economy is that more individuals and firms can punch above their weight class. Through buying single game tickets, these firms are in a better position to host more important clients. A college student can use Uber to get to the bar in a new Mercedes. A young couple can rent a luxury villa for a weekend in Hawaii. And while a local insurance company can’t afford a long-term lease at Heinz Stadium to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers, they can still afford to buy a suite for one game. Companies often buy luxury suites on the secondary market to appear as though they are on the same level as larger competitors. This pays dividends in the form of increased legitimacy in the eyes of their clients. Additionally, the amount saved from avoiding a long-term lease can now be redirected to other aspects of the business. Companies like SEG have made it easier than ever before to rent suites for only the desired events.
Suite Experience Group’s Approach To A Win-Win-Win For Teams, Leaseholders, And Buyers
SEG’s business model allows leaseholders list their idle suites on SEG’s platform. SEG facilitates the sale of the suite, and shares the revenue with the leaseholder at a predetermined amount.
Teams are also listing their excess inventory on the platform as well as introducing their suite owners to the website. Teams who embrace the secondary market have seen increased renewal rates from leaseholders as well as an increased sell through rate on rental suites. The teams are also benefiting by ensuring that more suites are full on game day.
The SEG platform creates an unprecedented level of transparency in the market. Prospective buyers can search for the specific suite they are looking for, tailoring the search based on either event type or venue. Buyers have all the relevant information needed to make a purchase: suite leaseholders offload the time-consuming back-and-forth with buyers. A win-win-win for teams, leaseholders, and buyers.
The Path Forward For The Suite Resale Market
Remember that sales team from the Detroit-based insurance company? They are no longer burning cash outside of Ford Field. Instead, they are attending the games they want to, and earning money from the ones they can’t attend by selling their suite. As buyers learn they can access suites without signing a long-term lease, the total size of the suite market is expanding. This liquidity gives leaseholders the confidence to sing longer-term leases. One of the largest beneficiaries here are the teams and venues, who now find it easier to lock-in long-term leases, while concurrently having fewer suites sitting dark on an event-by-event basis. The secondary market for suites is evolving quickly and, one the whole will be a positive force in the premium seating industry.
Are you a leaseholder looking to resell your suite? Are you a team or venue considering how to partner with the secondary market? For additional information of Suite Experience Group’s services, please contact [email protected] or visit www.suiteexperiencegroup.com
NBA Free Agency Frenzy
By Matt Lunde and Hal Schwimmer
NBA fans have seen almost as much action in the league during this offseason as they did during the regular season. Here are a few teams that have made a lot of noise thus far in free agency.
Golden State Warriors
We begin with the team that has and will continue to have the most buzz around the league for years to come: the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors officially awarded their Golden Boy, Steph Curry, with a whopping 5-year, $201M contract, making him the highest paid player in any of the four major U.S. sports leagues. With their leftover cash, the Dubs were able to retain most of their key rotation players, re-signing Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. The Warriors still might not be done in free agency, as rumors have surfaced that they are pursuing veteran swingman Nick Young as yet another perimeter threat.
Additionally, Finals MVP Kevin Durant inked a 2 year, $53M contract. While this is still an enormous sum, Durant actually took a $10M cut from the max he could have received, partly to help the team pursue other free agents. Take this as you will, but perhaps KD is setting a selfless precedent for his teammates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who are both set to become free agents in two years. Barring injury, it would appear that the Warriors core will remain intact for at least the next two years. What a terrifying prospect for the rest of the league.
Oklahoma City Thunder
In other news, the Western Conference continues to get stronger as the Eastern Conference watches in despair. Pacers All-Star forward Paul George was shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis. While George would normally have demanded a larger return, the Pacers had little leverage as most teams were afraid of George walking after his contract expires.
It will be an interesting experiment, as the Thunder now have two elite players in reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook and his new running mate George. While it’s uncertain if this duo will remain together long term, at the very least this next season should be a fun one for Thunder fans.
Jeff Teague left the Pacers to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves, replacing starter Ricky Rubio, who was traded to Utah. The T-Wolves appear hungry as ever to end their NBA-high 13 season playoff drought, as they now boast a roster that includes Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony-Towns, Teague, and Andrew Wiggins. With a starting five that boasts a former all star (Teague), a current all star (Butler), and a future all star (Towns), this Wolves team should have enough talent to compete with anyone else in the league. Reaching the playoffs should be an expectation, at the very least, for Tom Thibodeau’s squad.
While the Warriors are looking to build the next great NBA dynasty, several teams have gone all in this summer to challenge the Golden State supremacy. Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets paid a heavy price when they traded for Clippers point guard Chris Paul, but the payoff may be well worth it. Paul is a future hall of famer, and one of the greatest pure point guards to ever play the game. He and James Harden are both basketball geniuses who make everyone around them better with their pin point passing and playmaking acumen. In addition to high volume scoring, Houston will also boast a significantly improved defense with Paul now hounding opposing guards at the point of attack.
Houston isn’t done making moves. While they lost most of their assets in the Paul trade, never count out Morey and his front office from finding a way to land a third star to the mix. A name being throw around currently is disgruntled Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. If any team in the west can take out the Warriors, it might be these Rockets.
In an offseason that has seen heavy westward migration, Gordon Hayward zigged when the rest of the league zagged. The All-Star forward decided to reunite with his former Butler head coach, Brad Stevens, and play for the Boston Celtics. GM Danny Ainge has finally assembled Boston’s next great big three. Hayward will play alongside all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas and former all-star center Al Horford.
The acquisition of Hayward solidified Boston’s status as the best team in the Eastern Conference that doesn’t have Lebron James. While the Celtics were overmatched by Cleveland in last year’s conference finals, Hayward projects to narrow the gap between the two teams. Boston has one of the most well-rounded rosters in the league now, and aims to return to the finals for the first time since 2010.
Meanwhile in Philadelphia, 76ers fans are not just trusting the process; they’re loving it. Philly already has an uber-talented young core in Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid. The Sixers decided to surround their young big three with veteran talent as a means of expediting the growth of the team. The team brought in sharp shooting guard J.J. Reddick and hard working forward Amir Johnson. Reddick will provide much needed spacing to the offense, keeping floor defenses honest to create driving lanes for Fultz and Simmons. Johnson provides a physical presence down low and a hard-working veteran mentality the young players can learn from.
This whirlwind of an offseason has raised the bar for the level of excitement in the upcoming NBA season. You can see these familiar faces in new places from the comfort of a luxury suite. Book your suite today at www.suiteexperiencegroup.com. What are you waiting for?
NBA Draft Recap: Who Made a Splash at the NBA Draft
The exciting 2017 NBA draft was completed on Thursday, June 22. With one of the most talented draft classes in recent memory, 30 teams and their respective fanbases looked for new reasons to be optimistic about the 2017-18 season and beyond. Let’s look at seven teams who particularly stuck out with the moves they made.
After years of patiently waiting, Sixers fans are ecstatic to see the results of The Process. Markelle Fultz may not have played for a national powerhouse when he was at the University of Washington, but don’t let that deter you. He is the best guard in the draft, and will be a great fit in Philly’s offense, sharing the facilitator role with point-forward Ben Simmons.
While the last few years have been unmemorable for the Sixers, they now have a young core in place to let them compete for the years to come. In addition to Fultz’s all around dynamic game as a guard, Philly fans get to see him play alongside Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric. Both Embiid and Saric were stand out rookies this past season, with Embiid showing glimpses that he could be the most dominant center since Shaquille O’Neal when healthy.
Philadelphia went all in, trading up to the number 1 pick, and Fultz’s potential can make this gamble look like a no brainer very soon. The Sixers are primed to take over the Eastern Conference very soon, as year one of the FEDS (Fultz, Embiid, Dario, Simmons) should be a good one.
Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball, along with the world’s most famous cheerleader parent, will be staying in the city of angels following a stellar season with UCLA. The Lakers played their hand early, dealing D’Angelo Russell a few days before the draft to make way for Ball to take over the point guard position. With Magic Johnson calling the shots now, LA will give Ball every opportunity to lead the way for hopefully the next great team in this franchise’s storied history.
Ball isn’t a good passer; he’s a great one. No one in college basketball saw the court better than Ball, who will look to spread the passing gene onto his teammates. Ball’s up tempo, pass-first, approach makes him an ideal fit for head coach Luke Walton’s offense. Players like Ball make the guys around them better, which is great news for fellow teammates Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle. Ball will make it his prerogative to get those guys the ball on the spots on the court where they’re most effective.
The Lakers aren’t used to being mediocre for too long, and expect to return to the NBA’s top tier sooner rather than later. They have the cap space to sign a max level free agent or two. Will it be another hometown player, such as Paul George? What about a certain small forward from Cleveland? Too early to tell, but the 2017 NBA draft was the first step in the right direction for this iconic franchise.
The Timberwolves already have one of the most promising rosters in the league. Former rookie-of-the-year Karl Anthony-Towns is still getting better, and hopes to make his first all star team this coming year. Fellow ROY winner Andrew Wiggins has all the tools to become one of the best two-way wings in the league. With Ricky Rubio running the offense, this young Wolves team is poised to compete in the West very soon.
Minnesota expedited the process by pulling an absolute heist on draft night. For only Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and the seventh pick in the draft, the team acquired all star Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls, along with the 13th pick. Reunited with head coach Tom Thibodeau, Butler looks to be the final piece in turning this team into a playoff contender. He’s an ultra-competitive, elite defender with an alpha dog scoring mentality. Alongside Towns and Wiggins, they form one of the most talented trios in the league.
The Western Conference is currently going through a shift in the balance of power. Yes, the Warriors are the best team in the league. However, the other major contenders (Rockets, Clippers, Spurs) are all dealing with roster questions they will need to address in the coming off seasons. This will create an opening for other teams in the conference to move up and challenge the Warriors for supremacy. The Butler trade shows that Minnesota thinks they’re ready to compete now.
Every draft class has a few players who outperform their expected output based on where they were drafted. Fans and GM’s alike scratch their heads trying to figure out how so many teams passed up on these talents. Notable examples are Kawhi Leonard, Marc Gasol, and Draymond Green. A prime candidate from this years draft to continue this trend is University of Kentucky sharpshooter Malik Monk.
The modern NBA places a premium on three point shooters, and Monk was one of the elite shooters from this draft class. Yes, he’s a little undersized, and doesn’t look like an above average perimeter defender yet, but Kentucky players by and large tend to work out and have successful NBA careers. It’s easy for players to be marginalized on a team with so many talented teammates, and there’s a good chance we didn’t get to see Monk’s full skill set in coach Calipari’s system. His shooting will be his biggest asset, but he’s already shown glimpses of developing a more all around game, such as when he scored 47 points to beat eventual national champions UNC.
Charlotte made it clear they want to win now by trading for Dwight Howard. While his best days are behind him, Howard can still be the difference maker any given night. All star point guard Kemba Walker will be even more effective with Monk spacing out the court with his shooting, creating more driving lanes for his teammates. Monk has the tools to prove himself as the steal of the draft.
Speaking of steals, you know a draft class is deep when there’s legitimate buzz that the ninth pick could end up being the best player in the class. Rick Carlisle claims that Dallas would have drafted North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. with the first overall pick, and that could very well be true. Smith is oozing with potential, and might be the most explosive rookie in the league next season. Do not be surprised to see Smith be the Mavs’ starting point guard on opening day.
Smith has the confidence to enter the league with the poise of a seasoned veteran. He’ll make mistakes, but he’ll also be one of the leading scorers in this rookie class. Carlisle is one of the best coaches in the league, and will know how to maximize Smith’s talents and find out how to best utilize him with fellow young Mavericks Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel.
The Mavs are looking to contend in the final seasons of Dirk Nowitzki’s hall of fame career. Expect last season to be an anomaly, as the team hopes to get Dirk back to the playoffs this coming year.
The Suns already have their franchise guy in Devin Booker, along with several interesting pieces including Eric Bledsoe and Marquese Chriss. They hope to have gotten their next piece to the puzzle in University of Kansas standout Josh Jackson.
The league is filled with elite wing players, and teams won’t be able to contend unless they can counter these premiere players with defensive stoppers. Jackson will provide defense, and then some. He’s an over-aggressive defender with a great motor who will look forward to guarding the opposing team’s best player any given night. Jackson’s athleticism and high upside potential makes him a great complimentary player next to Booker and his lights out shooting. Additionally, his dunking ability makes him liable to bring the crowd into a frenzy whenever he gets the ball.
Something is brewing out in the desert. The Suns are a very young team looking to rejoin the company of the Western Conference elite. If Jackson can make an immediate impact and prove he was worth the fourth pick in the draft, expect this team to make that leap sooner rather than later.
Golden State Warriors
After an exciting 16-1 run through the 2017 NBA Playoffs en route to the title, it appeared Warrior fans would finally get a break from the action as their team held no picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. However, it was a bit naive to expect that GM Bob Myers and the Warriors front office, which built their team around the expert drafting of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, would sit on their hands on draft night. The Warriors were able to buy into the second round, acquiring the draft rights to Oregon forward Jordan Bell for $3.5M from the Chicago Bulls.
This pick earns the Warriors another “A” draft grade because Bell was a projected mid- first round talent who fell to the second round mainly due to questions about his scoring ability. However, anyone who watched Bell in either the Pac-12 tournament or NCAA Tournament run to the Final Four last March knows that Bell is a tenacious defender and rebounder. He won the 2016-17 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award, averaging 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game.
Jordan Bell will get a chance to rejoin his Oregon teammate Chris Boucher, who has agreed to a two-way NBA contract with the Warriors. In addition, Bell will have a chance to be mentored by one of the best core’s in basketball. Draymond Green, another second round draft pick, is an idol for Bell and will look to help him continue to improve his defensive ability.
What are you waiting for? Catch these guys in action next season!
Though the draft is over, it is never too early to get excited about the next NBA season. The draft serves as a perfect opening to an exciting off season. Be sure to book a suite through Suite Experience Group to see your favorite young stars play live in the luxury of a private suite!
A New Nest for the High-Flying Falcons
Fresh off a trip to the Super Bowl, the Falcons couldn’t have chosen a better time to move into their new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Falcon’s owner Arthur Blank set very high expectations for his team’s brand new stadium and boy did he deliver. The $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium will feature unparalleled city views, an upgraded fan experience, and a breathtaking retractable roof. With its pulsating music and lights, the energy of Mercedes-Benz will bring a bright beating heart to the center of Atlanta.
As part of our series detailing the sports venues being unveiled in the next year, we wanted to give Falcons fans a little taste of their incredible new stadium. Mercedes-Benz Stadium should more than console Falcons fans still bitter about their Super Bowl loss as it looks to be the new standard for all other stadiums in both the NFL and MLS.
For those fans looking for a more premium experience, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will have plenty of high-quality game experiences for their VIP guests. With 7,500 club seats, a suite level stretching from endzone to endzone, and over 100,000 square feet of premium clubs and lounges, including the Champions Lounge located behind the Falcon’s bench. Atlanta’s new NFL home is truly outfitted to give guests a top-of-the-line gameday experience.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium will offer two suite levels for fans that want to host clients or entertain friends in a suite. The Touchdown Suites are located on the field level, can host up to 22 guests, and are outfitted with a wet bar, comfortable theater-style seating and private restrooms in every suite. Each suite is decked out with all the tech that guests could want; HD TV’s with access to NFL Sunday Ticket and a local Wi-Fi network to give a full suite of guests internet access.
The Franchise Suites, which are located on the suite level, offer seating for between 14 and 22 guests. These suites are furnished with top of the line seating and offer a bird’s eye view of the action in your own comfortable climate controlled space. All suites come with a delicious catering menu, a full offering of beer, wine and spirits, and dedicated suite attendant to take care of your every need. With over 90 suites available at opening, there are plenty of options to take your gameday experience to the next level.
Iconic Roof and Halo Video Board
If fans want to see what really makes Mercedes-Benz Stadium the crown jewel of Atlanta, all fans have to do is look up. The stadium’s “360-degree Halo” video board is the largest in professional sports. The 63,000 square-foot screen is located right below the retractable roof’s opening providing fans ways to view the score, the time and recent highlights from any angle. To top it off, the stadium’s retractable roof, which was inspired by the Oculus of the Roman Pantheon, opens and closes in a unique way that is truly indescribable. Check out the video below for a fly-over of the stadium that demonstrates how the roof operates.
When Arthur Blank set out to build a stadium that was both environmentally conscious and fan-focused, I’m not sure even he knew how gorgeous his team’s new home venue would be. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium is finally opened on July 30th, NFL and MLS fans across the country will be very jealous of Atlanta’s iconic new home venue.
Sports fans should stay tuned to the Suite Experience Group’s Blog as the year progresses. We will be examining all of the new arenas opening up around the NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA this year. The next venue in our series will be Little Caesar’s Arena, which opens in 2017 and will be shared by the Detroit Pistons and Red Wings.
As always, if you are interested in purchasing a luxury suite please contact us through our website.
*Information the Mercedes-Benz Website, Business Insider and the Atlanta Falcons was used in this post
What Questions To Have in Mind When Buying a Luxury Suite?
Watching a concert or sporting event from a luxury suite is an unforgettable experience, and whether you’re hosting a client event or celebrating a birthday, a luxury box is the perfect setting. Despite the immediate gratification suite buyers will get from the impressed looks on their guest’s faces and the exclamations of wonder from their kids, purchasing a suite can be a stressful experience. Because it is a premium item, a suite can be expensive, plus there are many decisions to be made regarding the details of your suite. Do I want a suite along the 30-yard line or a corner of the end zone suite? How do I find parking and how do you even get up to the suite level? What types of food and beverages do I want in my suite? Can I get anyone with non-suite tickets into my suite? At Suite Experience Group we use our extensive suite knowledge to make sure that your suite purchasing experience is as stress-free as possible. We provide you with all the information you need to buy a luxury suite, and one of our representatives is always available to talk through questions, details, and concerns.
No question is too simple or outlandish (and we’ve heard them all over the years here at Suite Experience Group). As the person answering those questions I’ve been asked some things that people might think are obvious or kind of strange, but if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that you never know what you can get until you ask. Here are a few of the questions I have been asked over the years:
How many chicken wings come in the basket of chicken wings?
I don’t know! I truly wish I had the answer to this one, sometimes its 43 wings other times there are 44 wings and if you get really lucky there can be 47 wings. There are never a constant number of wings. In summary, I don’t know, but what I do know is that you can always feel safe about how much food there will be. Most a la carte items will feed eight to ten guests so there is plenty of food for your party no matter the size.
Are tickets included with the suite?
Yes, always. This may seem kind of obvious, but surprisingly it does come up a lot. So if you have asked me this question, don’t worry you’re not alone. You never know what might come with a suite until you ask. Some suite owners even negotiate unique benefits into their suite lease and these benefits can be anything from a visit from a team employee (i.e., Jerry West for the Warriors) or field passes for the game that we can provide you access to. So feel free to ask what comes with the suite because you never know what you might get.
Do you have a suite for the game tomorrow?
The short answer is probably not. Especially for big-ticket events, it is a good idea to call us at least a month in advance to ensure that we have suites available. NFL and College Football suites need to be purchased particularly early, while MLB, NHL and NBA suites can sometimes be purchased the week of the game. My advice is to call even if it is the day before your event because we will do whatever we can to get you into a luxury suite, but if you give us more time we can give you more varied and better options.
Can I sing the national anthem for the game I’m buying a suite for?
Yes I really was asked this and like I said earlier, you never know until you ask, right? Sadly, no, we do not have the connections to pull this one off, but we are more than happy to help you out with whatever special requests you have for your game. We can book you a hotel for your trip, help plan ground transportation, acquire access to exclusive clubs inside the stadium, and even get you into a stadium early if you would like to host a meeting or ceremony. We are willing to help you with whatever requests you may have no matter how wild they might be, so ask away. And once you are in your private suite, feel free to sing along to the national anthem with all your heart.
Does this spark questions of your own? Give us a call at 800-592-7043 or browse our suites here.
A Crown Jewel for California’s Capital City
Only three years ago the Sacramento Kings seemed headed out of California’s capital, but now, thanks to Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson and Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, the Kings seem set to stay in Sac-town for a very long time. For the first time in ten years, full season and half season ticket plans have completely sold out. For a team that has struggled to fill Sleep Train Arena in the past this is fantastic news. The rises in sales are all thanks to the $507 million dollar Golden 1 Center. Golden 1 is a technological marvel fit for the capital city of a state that includes both the Silicon Valley and natural wonders like Yosemite and Redwood National Parks. Here’s a rendition of how the Kings new arena will look like when it is finished that was taken from the Kings YouTube page.
As part of our series detailing the sporting venues being unveiled this year, we wanted to give Sacramento Kings fans a look into the most technologically advanced and green arena in the NBA. Kings fans are truly in for a treat as Vivek Ranadive’s design team has managed to both highlight Sacramento and create a state-of-the-art entertainment center.
Why is Golden 1 Center the most technologically advanced arena in the NBA and described by Wired Magazine as “A Giant Tesla”?
It is outfitted with over 650 miles of fiber optic cable and a 6,000 square foot data center
The arena can handle 500,000 Snapchats per second and it is conceivable that Golden 1 will be easily handle anything that mobile devices can throw at it for the next 10 to 20 years. There is also cell coverage no matter where you are in the building.
Golden 1 Center is a SMART building
It knows everything that is transpiring on the premises. Golden 1 can send fans score updates when they’re getting food, tell fans which bathroom has the shortest line or deliver a deal code to fans when they’re in line at concessions.
The Video Screen has more pixels than the Dallas Cowboys screen despite being half the size
Because of NBA regulations the Kings couldn’t build a bigger screen than the Cowboys but they did manage to get 32 million pixels on their 84 foot screen, which is six million more than the Cowboys fit on their 160 foot screen.
Golden 1 Center has its own app
The app permits fans to have the easiest gameday experience possible from getting to the game to ordering concessions. Golden 1’s app enables fans to purchase tickets and parking online and then gives fans directions to their parking spot and seat. Another cool feature of the app is that it allows fans to buy anything from a hot dog to a foam finger from the comfort of their seat.
Kings fans should be thrilled with their new arena, which has definitely delivered on its promise of bringing the ultimate modern gameday experience. A jewel amidst picturesque downtown Sacramento, Golden 1 Center should bring vitality and excitement to California’s capital city.
Sports fans should stay tuned to the Suite Experience Group’s Blog as the summer progresses. We will be examining all of the new arenas opening up around the NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA this year. The next venue in our series will be the Detroit Red Wings Little Caesar’s Arena, which opens in 2017 and will feature very innovative seating options.
As always, if you are interested in purchasing a luxury suite please contact us through our website.
College Football Kickoff
Great news to start the weekend: the return of college football is now officially 2 weeks away. And if you’re not already totally amped for the season, well…
For starters, give this a try: College Football HYPE Video 2016.
Opening weekend is LOADED with marquee match-ups. Here’s your annual CFB primer highlighting the must-watch games of opening weekend along with our shortlist of some elite athletes who are well worth the price of admission (preferably in a suite) in 2016-17:
Wisconsin (21) vs. LSU (16) – Historic Lambeau Field; Green Bay, Wisconsin – 9/3 Suites still available
Clemson (2) vs. Auburn – Jordan-Hare Stadium; Auburn, Alabama – 9/3
Oklahoma (5) vs. Houston (8) – NRG Stadium; Houston, Texas – 9/3 Suites still available
UCLA (23) vs. Texas A&M – Kyle Field; College Station, Texas – 9/3
USC vs. Alabama (1) – AT&T Stadium; Dallas, Texas – 9/3 Suites still available
Myles Garrett – DE, Texas A&M – 6’5 262
Evoking physical comparisons to Julius Peppers, Mario Williams, and Jadeveon Clowney, Texas A&M defensive end, Myles Garrett, is an elite talent with game-changing potential. Garrett is freakishly built and has the football IQ to match. He plays with impressive fluidity and a non-stop motor. Although only a junior, Garret has the complete skillset of a three-down defensive end who can rush the passer and stop the run. With room to bulk up, scouts anticipate Garrett can grow into another 10-15 lbs. of muscle before entering the NFL. Garrett has a markedly quick first step off the edge – perhaps the most important skill for a 4-3 defensive end. Although Garrett has been productive as an underclassman, he was overshadowed by the likes of former CFB defensive stars Jadaveon Clowney and Khalil Mack. Look for Garrett to be SEC Defensive POY and a legitimate top 5 pick come the 2017 NFL Draft.
Greg Ward JR – QB, Houston – 6’0 185
2,000 yard passer, 1,000 yard rusher and 38 combined touchdowns in 2015. Even if we told you he was the QB of the 8th ranked team in the country, not many people would guess it was Houston QB, Greg Ward Jr. Perhaps due to Ward’s unassuming demeanor or maybe his smaller stature, Ward Jr.’s talent has gone underappreciated. Ward Jr. is a true dual-threat. He can run and throw; he’s the modern athlete playing the quarterback position. Heck, put Ward Jr. at cornerback and he would probably be above-average. Ward Jr. has electric natural ability and, as a converted wide receiver, he is just now starting to feel comfortable reading defenses. Ward’s game should finally get national recognition this year as the Houston Cougars open the season ranked 8th in both the USA Today and Coaches polls.
OJ Howard – TE, Alabama – 6’6 245
OJ Howard’s production didn’t quite corroborate his physical attributes. Then the 2016 National Championship happened. Howard caught 8 passes for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. Howard is a fluid athlete with wide receiver speed in a tight end frame. He is rangy and explosive with strong hands. Howard has a tremendous catch radius. One more year of refined route running should cement him as a first round pick come next year’s draft. Howard, now a senior, will be a top offensive weapon for Alabama’s offense. You heard it here – this is the year Howard puts it all together as a 1,000 yard receiver and red zone touchdown machine.
Corey Clement – RB, Wisconsin – 5’10 228
Ron Dayne. Montee Ball. Melvin Gordon. Corey Clement? Clement was supposed to have his breakout season last year as a junior, but he struggled through injuries and missed plenty of games. While some expected Clement to declare for the NFL draft, he instead opted to return to Madison to attend to unfinished business. In a run-heavy offense, Clement will be the focal point. Running behind one of the nation’s best offensive lines, we think Clement is a legitimate Big Ten Offensive POY candidate and Heisman contender. Clement has the ideal frame to withstand running between the tackles while possessing enough burst to make defenders miss on the outside. Expect some huge games from Clement in 2016-17 as the Wisconsin running back tradition continues.
U.S. Bank Stadium: A New Home for the Purple People Eaters
As the 2016 NFL season draws closer, many industry experts will be focused on the land of a thousand lakes and the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium in Minneapolis – U.S. Bank Stadium. The brand new stadium exemplifies a trend of big time investment in venues across the sports industry, but especially in the National Football League. Forbes has predicted that the NFL will generate over $13 billion dollars in revenue in 2016. While $13 billion in revenue is quite an impressive number, perhaps the most significant indicator of the health of the NFL brand is the number of multi-billion dollar stadiums under proposal or currently being constructed.
In our series on new sporting venues across the major North American sports leagues, we will be examining what is unique about each venue and what amenities and features these massive investments are providing in-stadium fans. Since the 2016 NFL season will be U.S. Bank Stadium’s inaugural one, our first post will give Vikings fans a little taste of what the Metrodome’s replacement has to offer.
What’s cool/unique about Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium?
- It looks like a Viking longship
- It is one of the only stadiums in the NFL with a single truss design, which enables it to shed the snow and ice common during Minnesota winters
- It has Turf Suites literally right on top of the field, close enough that fans can almost hear the play calls
- The stands are the closest to the field of any stadium in the NFL, so fans can really feel those bone-crunching hit
How does it compare to the old Metrodome?
- It is almost twice the size
- Has twice as many bathrooms
- 44 more luxury suites
- 8,000 additional club seats
- Six new VIP lounges
- Six different types of luxury suite to cater for all different sizes and types of groups
Also if you want to know more, here is an awesome infographic on the Vikings website comparing the two venues. It is safe to say that fans of the Purple People Eaters will be extremely entertained in their swanky new stadium: there is truly an experience for everyone.
Sports fans should stay tuned to the Suite Experience Group’s Blog as the summer progresses. We will be examining all of the new arenas opening up around the NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA this year. The next venue in our series will be the NBA’s most technologically advanced and environmentally friendly arena, the Sacramento King’s Golden 1 Center.
As always if you’re looking to buy a luxury suite, check out our website.