SPORTICO: The World’s Three Most Valuable Sports Franchises are Teaming Up

Via Sportico

Spanish soccer giant Real Madrid is partnering with Legends to revamp its merchandise and apparel strategy, further combining the world’s three most valuable sports teams.

The tie-up between Real Madrid and Legends, owned in part by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, includes the relaunch of three stores in Madrid and the development of flagship shop inside the team’s stadium. Legends will also run the team’s global online shop.

“All of our partners are iconic, they’re trying to do things at the highest level within their respective worlds,” Legends CEO Shervin Mirhashemi said in an interview. “And their brands are what’s so valuable about them. They guard that with great care and when they choose a partner they want someone that understands that.”

Real Madrid has won a record 33 Spanish league titles, and more Champions League crowns than any other club. Revenues in 2018-19 were $850 million (757 million Euros), marking at least 20 consecutive years of growth. It is the most-followed soccer team on social media, and also claims to have the most-visited soccer team website in the world.

Legends will look to leverage that popularity and success into more sales of jerseys, t-shirts and other merchandise. The new e-commerce platform will launch this week in eight languages. Legends is hiring a team to manage the partnership on the ground in Madrid, and will relaunch additional official team stores in Barcelona and Mexico.

The flagship store at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu will be part of the team’s wider $590 million (525 million Euros) renovation of project.

Merchandise programs serve three main goals for sports teams–to bring in revenue, to serve as grassroots marketing, and to give teams more data about their fans. That’s especially true for the world’s biggest franchises.

“You go all around the world, and you see Yankees hats everywhere,” Mirhashemi said. “It’s a symbol of the city, of the brand itself, and sometimes these people aren’t even baseball fans. Real Madrid is the same.”

Founded as a hospitality company in 2008, Legends has grown into a full-service agency supporting sports teams, venues and entertainment companies. The group’s services include sponsorship valuations, naming rights sales, hospitality, ticketing, concessions, fundraising and both online and brick-and-mortar merchandising.

Legends has worked with Real Madrid since 2018, when the company was hired to help with feasibility and planning surrounding the team’s stadium project. Its other clients include the University of Notre Dame, Manchester City F.C. and U.S. Soccer.


Legends today announced the first Legends Global Sales Training Camp, a new sales training and development program designed to provide foundational sales skills for recent graduates, entry-level sports sales professionals, and those seeking to transition to sports from other industries. Consistent with our company’s commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion, a major goal of the training camp will be the representation of diverse participants, specifically women and people of color.

This exciting new initiative will leverage Legends’ best-in-class industry experts and acumen across all aspects of the sports industry to create a truly unique learning experience for all participants.

The program, which is cost-free for selected participants, will further emphasize “The Legends Way” and our commitment to service during these challenging times. A limited number of participants will be selected for this unique program which will consist of:

  • Structured learning and sales training camp across a wide range of introductory sales skills, including time management tools, outbound and inbound calling strategies, CRM and ticketing systems, and sales presentations best practices
  • “Sports Industry 101” introduction into the ticket sales business across professional and collegiate athletics
  • Personalized, hands-on sales training from Legends Global Sales leadership with expertise in the NFL, NCAA, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, Olympics, and premium hospitality
  • Networking opportunities

The six-week program, conducted live via web-based video conference platforms, will run from Monday, July 20 through Friday, August 28, with 1-2 hours of learning per day (Monday-Friday). The application process will open on Monday, June 29 and the deadline to submit is Friday, July 10.

The link to apply can be found here.


Over the past several weeks we have all witnessed the heartbreaking acts of racial inequality and injustice that have taken place in our country including the death of George Floyd at the hands of those who took an oath to serve and protect. This unfortunately is not new, for black people and people of color these unconscionable acts are all too familiar. We have heard the cries for change and accountability, and we stand with the black community in the movement and push to ensure that black lives matter. We don’t have all the answers, but we will seek to have the important conversations with our internal team members and our community and take action.

As an extension of Legends’ Diversity & Inclusion platform, this week we’ve launched our Community & Social Impact Circles, an internal program designed to harness the power of our team members’ collective voices and our platform to create change in the communities in which we work and live.

These circles are smaller format discussions that will provide all of our team members with a safe space to share and learn together and have the difficult and much-needed conversations about what is happening in society and throughout our communities. Additionally, one-to-one engagement with the Legends Diversity & Inclusion Team and Executive Team is available for all members, with a Legends Day of Service in the works.

From top to bottom, we’re committed to participating in these important conversations and initiatives as we contribute our collective resources for positive change and unity.

SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL: Legends Rolls Our Hygiene and Safety Consultancy Services

Via SportsBusiness Journal

Legends is adding a venue safety consultancy to its suite of hospitality, concessions, project management and merchandise sales services.

It’s the latest move in the sports venue industry to expand hygiene programs and provide best practices to ease the concerns of fans and employees once they are allowed to return to live events.

The Legends Venue Reintegration Platform offers the company’s clients and the sports industry as a whole a comprehensive program that will help protect guests and employees, said Legends President and CEO Shervin Mirhashemi. Legends will offer the same program to nonsports facilities such as office and retail buildings, and attractions.

Along with medical and government experts, Legends’ platform will bring in hospital-grade hygiene experts, professional vendors and operational expertise to assess a venue’s readiness to host fans and other guests.

Advisory partners include representatives from the International Association of Venue Managers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of the assessment partners include Venue Solutions Group, Environmental Infection Prevention and CrowdRx. On the cashless and contactless payment front,  vendors include FreedomPay, Square, Ingenico, Clover, Apply Pay, Google Pay, Tap to Pay, Zippin, ReadyCredit, Tapin2 and Appetize.

The move to develop structure and resources across venue safety has understandably accelerated in the past eight weeks. Tim Leiweke’s Oak View Group has plans for a new division to make certain that venues are sanitized properly. ASM Global also has launched a similar initiative and the Houston Texans have posted a position for a facility hygiene coordinator.

The Legends platform has two phases.

“There’s an initial assessment and planning portion, which we call phase one of the analysis, that’s a two-to-four week process, which is very customized and involves over 150 checklist items to assess and ultimately provide a plan of what that venue or event needs to safely conduct business in this new COVID environment,” Mirhashemi said. “The second phase is based on those recommendations, we have solutions with various different vendor options, with different paths that will address each one of those over 150 checklist items.”

Mirhashemi noted the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees — which own Legends — were using the platform in preparation for the eventual return of live sports. He said Legends will charge a one time consulting fee that will be customized for the specific client.

Some of the hypothetical recommendations Legends may make include providing branded personal protective equipment to fans, a revised ticketing and manifest process, a policy addressing season-ticket holders if venues have to reduce capacity, a plan for a contactless and cashless environment, an app-managed safety checklist for employees, and revised food and beverage and merchandising operations.

“We’re addressing that entire journey, for both the employee as well as the fan, from the time they leave their home, to the time they return, which includes egress, ingress changes to the event and venue, and new hospital-grade cleaning and hygiene options on how they need to go about cleaning that venue or that event,” Mirhashemi said.

PBC TODAY: Developer Submits Plans for £260M Gateshead Quays Arena

via PBC Today

A full planning application has been submitted for the £260m arena, conference and exhibition centre on the iconic Newcastle Gateshead Quayside

Gateshead Council’s development partner “Ask:PATRIZIA”, has submitted a full planning application for the arena-led scheme on Gateshead Quays.

The 80,000 sq ft development, which will host international conferences and exhibitions as well as music and cultural events, is situated on the iconic Newcastle Gateshead Quayside, directly in front of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.


The scheme will include a 12,500 capacity arena, operated by ASM Global, an international conference and exhibition centre, a dual-branded hotel, restaurants, and extensive areas of the public realm.

The Gateshead Quays project is expected to add over 1,000 jobs and £29m GVA per annum to the regional economy.

The council will be submitting a planning application later this year for a multi-storey car park on Baltic Quarter to service the development.

Global architect, HOK, is designing the overall masterplan for the site, conference and exhibition centre and 12,500 capacity arena, while AHR Architects are designing the hotel which forms part of the masterplan.

The project team also includes: project manager and contract administrator, Legends InternationalLichfields, planning consultants; Gardiner and Theobald, QS; ARUP, structural engineers/M&E and Vectos for transport planning.

“Ask:PATRIZIA” is a joint venture between Ask Real Estate Limited and PATRIZIA AG.

John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate, said: “We have undertaken a  programme of public consultation with local stakeholders and neighbours which has informed our plans for Gateshead Quays and we are pleased that we are now able to take this through to the final stage of the planning process.

“Our appointed contractors Sir Robert McAlpine have been engaging with the technical teams and with the arena operator ASM Global and we have signed-off stage 2 designs for what will be a world-class events destination.

“We are hopeful that the scheme will achieve full planning consent later this year and look forward to delivering this superb facility for the North East as soon as possible.”

The scheme will also benefit from the ability to connect directly to Gateshead’s district energy network.

An announcement on the hotel operator is expected to be made in the coming weeks and the new complex is set to open 2023.

SACRAMENTO BEE: California Paying Sacramento Kings $500,000 a Month to Rent Natomas Arena For Field Hospital

Via Sacramento Bee

In early April, the state of California was scrambling to find space to put thousands of hospital beds in anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 patients, and the Sacramento Kings had a big, empty arena north of downtown that seemed like an ideal spot.

In an interview with The Sacramento Bee on April 3, Matina Kolokotronis, chief operating officer of the Kings, said her boss, the team’s owner, Vivek Ranadivé, called her and said, ‘What about offering the arena?’ ”

“He asked how we could use our platform to do good.”

Turns out Sleep Train Arena, the team’s home in Natomas until 2016, is coming at a cost to taxpayers. The state is paying the Kings $500,000 a month for use of the facility for three months, though the team has donated the use of adjacent practice facility.

The expenses are detailed in a state contract The Bee obtained after filing a request under the California Public Records Act with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services.

The contract — signed quietly and without public announcement — now raises questions about the expenditure of taxpayer money to enrich an NBA franchise that paid its top player Harrison Barnes $24.1 million in 2019. The Kings are owned by a wealthy group of investors that includes Ranadivé, a software multi-millionaire.

No mention of the financial arrangement was made on April 6, when Newsom stood on the empty floor of the Kings’ former home and praised Ranadivé for his generosity for opening up the arena and for other donations through the Kings’ charitable foundation, which included 100,000 masks.

“We wouldn’t be here without him and without his support,” Newsom said. “It’s just an example of people all stepping in to meet this moment head-on.”

The Kings contract is among a handful the state has signed in an effort to build field hospitals to handle a possible surge of COVID-19 cases. In San Luis Obispo County, the Cal Poly Recreation Center is now a makeshift hospital, set to take in as many as 930 patients. The agreement states there is no cost to the county for rent.

Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for Cal OES, said Friday there was no intent to deceive the public about the contract between the Kings and the state.

The arrangement with the Kings “is consistent with what’s being done at the other sites,” Ferguson said. “We are paying a consistent rate at all the alternative (hospital) sites.” He added that the Kings have made available the team’s old practice facility, a separate building next to Sleep Train, at no charge.

If the temporary hospital at the Sleep Train complex were fully occupied, the rate “would work out to $41 per night per guest, which for hospital care is a pretty nice price,” he added.

The Sleep Train site was quickly refurbished to accommodate 400 patients. Ferguson said “a small number” of patients have been moved into the arena. The site is part of the state’s efforts to create 20,000 additional beds outside of medical facilities to address a COVID-19 surge.

In a statement, the Kings said they were “incredibly proud of our public-private partnership to operationalize the team’s former home in Natomas in record time.” They said the lease agreement is “consistent with other similar alternate care facilities that have been created to support the growing medical needs of the COVID-19 crisis across California.”

“Our intent was, and is, to continue to use our platform for good and to help support our community,” the spokesperson said.


The contract with the California Department of Public Health was signed on behalf of a Kings affiliated company, SBH Natomas LLC, by the team’s senior vice president and general counsel Jeffrey Dorso

The agreements say the state will pay $500,000 a month, plus utilities, through June for use of the facility for a total of up to $3 million.

Newsom said at the arena in early April that Ranadivé offered up the facility “before we even asked.”

“The fact we’re here in such a short period of time and already seeing the construction is testament to your support and to the spirit that you have advanced,” Newsom said. “So I’m very very grateful to you.”

Ranadivé stood at the podium and praised Newsom in turn and said: “The Sacramento Kings have always believed it’s bigger than basketball and if we can use our platform to impact the world in a positive way and make a difference then that’s what we need to do.”

“The city has always been there for us, and we will be there for the city in any small way that we can,” Ranadivé said. “This where we’re standing right now is actually one of the iconic venues in sports history. This is actually where LeBron (James) played his first game, and now it’s going to be taking care of Californians. Its history of big moments continues. We thought we were done with this arena when we moved out, but in fact, the arena still lives on and hopefully will play its part contributing to the state.”

On Thursday, Legends, a sports arena food concessionaire that handles concessions at Golden 1, announced it will provide meals to staff and patients at the Sleep Train hospital site. The food will be prepared at Golden 1 Center’s kitchen facilities. The financial terms of that deal weren’t disclosed.


Ranadive, who made hundreds of millions of dollars in the software business in Silicon Valley, is the leader of a group that bought the Kings in 2013 from the Maloof family. Other owners include Paul Jacobs, former chief executive of San Diego tech giant Qualcomm; and Sacramento developer Mark Friedman, whose family owns Arden Fair mall.

The city of Sacramento gave the new owners a $255 million subsidy to help build Golden 1 Center. The subsidy included several parcels of city-owned land, including land adjacent to Sleep Train, formerly known as ARCO Arena.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Kings Foundation announced it also had donated $250,000 to community organizations providing food services and other essential needs of vulnerable people in the Sacramento area.

The Kings said they were planning to donate 100,000 medical masks to state and local agencies that need them. Separately, individual players and employees have donated to coronavirus efforts; general manager Vlade Divac and two players teamed up to send ventilators and other equipment to their native Serbia.

When the pandemic began shutting down much of the economy, including the Kings’ season, the team said it would pay hundreds of furloughed team employees through the end of March.

A week ago, Kings players and other NBA players agreed to a 25 percent salary cut. The Kings’ player payroll for the full season is an estimated $118 million.

At the same time, the Kings have lost millions of dollars in ticket sales from Kings games and concerts that have been canceled at Golden 1.

Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association said billions of dollars in taxpayer funds are being spent across the country on the fight against COVID-19, with limited transparency and oversight. He said when this is all over, there needs to be a major accounting to ensure the money didn’t enrich those who didn’t need it or that it went to waste.


As the world has changed since COVID-19 was declared a National Emergency in March, Legends has worked closely with partners to give back to communities in need.

Legends has donated tens of thousands of pounds of food to nonprofits, food banks, and other community partners. Additionally, Legends has donated merchandise, masks, supplies, and hygiene kits to various organizations in need. In support of game-day workers and other seasonal employees whose jobs have been impacted, Legends has made significant contributions to various funds that assist these staff members.


BOWNS.COM: Browns Launch ‘Hats Off To Our Heroes’ Fund to Benefit Covid-19 Community Leaders


The Browns today launched the “Hats Off to Our Heroes” Fund, which will focus on aiding health care professionals, first responders, educational professionals and other groups who are pivotal in the community year round and are valiantly serving as role models in the face of significant adversity due to COVID-19.

For a significant period of time, the Browns will commit 100 percent of the team’s net proceeds from 2020 Browns jersey sales at FirstEnergy Stadium’s Pro Shop, in partnership with Legends, and online through Fanatics to the “Hats Off To Our Heroes” Fund beginning Wednesday, April 15, when the team will share its new uniforms on and its social media platforms.

“When finalizing our uniform announcement, we realized we had an incredible opportunity to further our support of heroes battling COVID-19 on the front lines for our entire community,” said Executive Vice President JW Johnson. “We hope the excitement surrounding the new uniforms can help make a significant impact through the ‘Hats Off to Our Heroes’ Fund, and we greatly appreciate the support from our fans, retail partners and team to make this special way to give back to those leaders possible.”

In addition, team members, partners and fans can contribute directly to the “Hats Off to Our Heroes” Fund at, which also features community resources and information relevant to coronavirus.

An extension of the “Hats Off to Our Heroes” Honor Row hosted during all Browns home games, the team is recognizing and assisting COVID-19 heroes by supporting those who have selflessly taken on burdens in their personal and professional lives to benefit the community. The “Hats Off to Our Heroes” Honor Row program was created following the 9/11 tragedy to salute service members and first responders in the local community.

Since April 2017, the team has donated 100 percent of its net proceeds from all sales within the stadium’s Pro Shop to benefit Browns Give Back’s commitment to education and youth football.

Fans who purchase a new jersey directly from the FirstEnergy Pro Shop will also receive a 30 percent coupon by mail for future use at the location once it reopens (full details to be listed on coupon). To place an order from the FirstEnergy Stadium Pro Shop, call 440-824-3427 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday-Friday. The Pro Shop will also host special call-in hours this week from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Wednesday (April 15) and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday (April 18-19). In-store purchases are currently unavailable in adherence to all policies and social distancing best practices related to COVID-19.

FCDALLAS.COM: FC Dallas and Toyota Partner to Feed North Texas Volunteers

Via FC Dallas

FC Dallas and Toyota are taking care of those who are taking care of the community by delivering meals to the volunteers at Frisco FastPacs, an organization that provides meals for students in the Frisco Independent School District today.

The donated meals were originally intended for upcoming FC Dallas matches at Toyota Stadium. Because of the suspension of MLS play and the growing need for resources and volunteers, FC Dallas and Toyota recognized the need to help the volunteers who are providing such a vital service in our community. Legends Hospitality chefs worked to prepare and package the meals.

“We’re proud to work with Legends Hospitality and the food and beverage team at Toyota Stadium to provide these meals to the volunteers who are tirelessly working to ensure that FISD students do not go hungry during this unprecedented time,” said FC Dallas Foundation Manager Brooke Leverette.

Frisco FastPacs is a service that delivers weekend meals to all 72 Frisco Independent School District campuses, serving more than 1,000 children, to ensure they do not go hungry when school is not in session. Following FISD’s response to extend spring break until Friday, March 20 due to COVID-19, Frisco FastPacs is currently working with the district and Lovepacs Frisco to provide meals to those students in need at six different middle schools.

“Mr. Rogers always said that in scary times, we should look for the helpers,” said Frisco Fastpacs Executive Director Heather Canterbury. “Our Fastpacs volunteers have stepped up unbelievably to be those helpers in in this crisis. To have FC Dallas and Toyota take care of our people so they can keep taking care of these kids means everything.”

LAFC.COM: LAFC Teams with Partners to Donate Food to Local Charity


LAFC is continuing to be a force for good in the community during a difficult time. On Tuesday, the Club teamed with partners Legends and the LAFC Foundation to donate fresh fruits and vegetables to local community partner Union Rescue Mission.

“We wanted to support our local community during this time of hardship and need,” said LAFC Director of Community Relations Aida Morrow. “Union Rescue Mission focuses on helping men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. As a force for good in our local community, we wanted to align with an organization that is working to make a difference in our city.”

The food donated to the mission was originally purchased for LAFC’s upcoming matches at Banc of California Stadium. Due to the suspension of the MLS season and the urgent need for such supplies, the Club and its partners felt donating the perishable goods would be the greatest help to the surrounding community.

“Union Rescue Mission is based in downtown LA and speaks true of LAFC’s goal to positively impact the heart of Los Angeles,” Morrow said. “Throughout our growing partnership, LAFC has donated food and clothing, served food at URM’s events, and thrown a holiday party for their residents.

“We want to continue that partnership with the help of Legends and the LAFC Foundation by supporting Union Rescue Mission’s ongoing efforts to care for the homeless population in and around downtown Los Angeles.”

For more information on Union Rescue Mission and how you can help, visit And for more community information, including the latest COVID-19 news, tips to stay safe, and updates from state and local officials, go to or bookmark

SACRAMENTO BEE: Kings Donate Prepared and Perishable Food To Help Needy During Coronavirus Crisis

Via Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento Kings have donated thousands of pounds of food this week to local organizations to help feed those in the community who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The team announced Friday that all prepared and perishable food on hand on Golden 1 Center has been donated to the Sacramento County Office of Education and the Sacramento Food Bank. The food would have gone unused at the arena, where Kings games and other upcoming events have been canceled or postponed in response to the outbreak.

The Kings said they donated nearly 1,000 pounds of prepared food to the Sacramento Food Bank after their game against the New Orleans Pelicans was postponed Wednesday. They donated about 2,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables to the Sacramento County Office of Education on Friday to assist efforts to provide meals to families affected by Sacramento County school closures.

“The health and well-being of our community is our top priority,” the Kings said in a written statement. “We are committed to looking out for one another as we all navigate this uncertain time together.”

The NBA has suspended its season for a minimum of 30 days after two Utah Jazz players tested positive for the coronavirus. Other upcoming sporting events and concerts at Golden 1 Center have been cancelled or postponed as well, including the CIF State Basketball Championships, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and concerts featuring Celine Dion and Cher.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health recommend limiting large gatherings for the remainder of March to slow the spread of the coronavirus.