The Full 90

Boulevard Brewing expands marketing deal with Sporting KC

Updated: 2013-01-31T05:29:48Z

By KEVIN COLLISON

The Kansas City Star

Boulevard Brewing Co. has firmed up its sponsorship agreement with Sporting Kansas City in a five-year deal that includes the naming rights to the members club at Sporting Park.

The Kansas City brewery is now title sponsor of what will be called Boulevard Members’ Club, and it will continue to be the club’s official craft beer sponsor, Jeremy Ragonese, director of marketing for the brewery, said Wednesday.

The new marketing agreement, however, does not include naming rights to the stadium, which recently dropped its Livestrong title following a dispute with the charitable organization founded by bicyclist Lance Armstrong.

Ragonese said Boulevard Brewing and Sporting KC have had casual conversations about naming rights to the 18,000-seat stadium near Kansas Speedway in western Wyandotte County, but no deal is in the works.

“Both Boulevard and Sporting have thought naming rights to the stadium would be a great thing, but it’s not an opportunity we could explore at this time,” he said.

Sporting KC has had informal conversations with interested parties about acquiring the naming rights to the stadium that opened in June 2011, but it has not officially solicited offers, said Jake Reid, chief revenue officer for the soccer club.

“We’re certainly open to pursuing it, given the right partner,” he said. “There’s been no formal process, but that’s something we have to think about how we want to handle in the long run.”

Reid said the average cost of naming rights at other Major League Soccer stadiums has been about $2 million annually.

“We feel pretty good we have the best venue in the league, and because of the team’s success it’s a great value,” Reid said.

In the case of the Sprint Center, its 25-year naming rights agreement called for Sprint to pay up to $2.5 million annually if the arena had an NBA or NHL team, but about one-third less without a marquee tenant.

Last year, Boulevard reached an agreement with Sporting KC to sell its beer at what was formerly called Livestrong Park and started a co-marketing agreement called Hometown Team-Hometown Beer.

The new agreement announced Wednesday by Boulevard Brewing with Sporting KC formalizes and extends the co-marketing agreement it reached last year with the club, Ragonese said.

“This has been in the works for a long time,” he said. “Our mutual fans have been outspoken in their support for an alliance between Boulevard and Sporting KC, and their passion for our brands makes this a natural fit.”

To reach Kevin Collison, call 816-234-4289 or send email to kcollison@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at kckansascity.

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