Sports Business Journal recognizes the leaders in facility design and development. From architects and construction firms to acoustics and retractable roof experts, these are the folks who are at the planning table at the beginning and whose visions ultimately make each venue unique.
Our Power Players series launched on April 18, 2016, with a look at the influencers in the design and construction world. This is the first time that we have revisited a sector, but with a record $8.9 billion in facility openings this year, we thought it was an appropriate time.
You might notice a slight change in the scope of companies compared with our first Power Players. Changes in security requirements, media production, environmental concerns, game-day expectations and the increase in the number of these venues that serve as anchors to mixed-use sites mean there are more shareholders involved on day one than there used to be.
But while the editorial staff of SBJ made the final decisions on who would make this list, the primary source of information came from industry peers. We asked things like: “What competitor do you respect the most?” and “What vendor do you want with you at the table from the beginning?” As you read through these pages, you’ll see a lot of familiar faces. But you will also see some folks you have never heard of, even though they’ve been behind the scenes for years.
The result was a total of 89 people and 45 companies who stood out for their ability to develop new concepts that would stand the test of time, renovate existing spaces to maximize revenue, secure funding and public support, and push the boundaries of technology so fans feel safe, entertained and wanting to come back.
President and Chief Executive Officer
President, Legends Global Planning
Chief Operating Officer, Legends Project Development
Senior Vice President, Operations, Legends Project Development
Led by Mirhashemi, Legends manages merchandising and concessions at the $5 billion SoFi Stadium, brokered its $30 million a year naming-rights agreement and is project manager for the adjacent 300-acre Hollywood Park entertainment district. Legends also landed Allegiant Stadium’s naming-rights deal and spearheaded the Raiders’ personal seat-license campaign, bringing in $549 million ahead of the 2020 season.
“Being an operator ourselves is a huge benefit for our clients,” Mirhashemi said, “as our planning and design decisions are influenced by our overall stadium and live experiences acumen.”
Rhoda, who led planning and project development for Banc of California Stadium and The Star, home of the Dallas Cowboys world headquarters, said he was particularly proud of Legends’ ability to oversee SoFi’s planning and construction while also working on the new stadium and training facility for the Columbus Crew and San Diego State’s new Aztec Stadium.
Portz oversaw the project management for SoFi and continues to work on the Hollywood Park entertainment district along with the Crew’s new home. She joined Legends in 2017 from PC Sports, where she was president and worked on such projects as KFC Yum! Center, FedEx Forum, Sprint Center and the renovation of Texas A&M’s Kyle Field.
Curtis, whose first sports project was the then-revolutionary SkyDome (now Rogers Centre), is working with the Los Angeles Clippers on their new arena near SoFi Stadium.