Newly-renovated Rose Bowl will push luxury, premium seating

PASADENA - The Rose Bowl in Pasadena has established a waiting list for people wanting to purchase newly-constructed club seats, which include access to upscale lounges and amenities.The club seats are part of a $152 million renovation of the historic stadium. The renovation, expected to be substantially completed for the start of the 2013 UCLA football season, will include the addition and renovation of suites, loge boxes, club seats and press box. The Rose Bowl is selling 54 suites which include 1,096 total seats; 48 four-seat loge boxes; and 1,180 club seats. There will also be 180 indoor club seats for UCLA games only. Part of the renovation is construction of the Loge Lounge, a "high-end restaurant/lounge" with approximately 4,000 square feet, and the Club Lounge, approximately 16,000 square feet. The renovated suites range in price from about $55,000 to $80,000 for UCLA games only, plus an additional $25,000 to $45,000 to include the Rose Bowl Game. Club seats are expected to range from $2,000 to $4,000 per seat. "This is very important," Rose Bowl general manager Darryl Dunn said of the stadium's premium seating sales. "Ultimately, it's about paying our bond debt, first and foremost, and generating a surplus, so we can reinvest back in the facility as well." A six-person sales team is working from a new $100,000 marketing center located just northeast of the stadium in Lot D. The marketing center interior is painted UCLA blue and includes a timeline of historical Bruin moments, state-of-the-art video presentations that showcase the new premium seating and renovation, and actual seats for prospective buyers to try. Outside, a portion of the football field has been recreated with stadium turf, where potential buyers can lounge and sip cocktails during marketing events. "We have enjoyed a great start selling more than half the suites and loge boxes in a little less than a year," said Jason Gonella, vice president of sales for Legends Connections and project leader for the Rose Bowl campaign. "We have experienced a tremendous interest in the club seats, and with the amount of people inquiring we felt it made sense to establish a wait list so that we can provide those people with great priority." The current press box is a three-level structure with 262 seats for members of the media located on the second level. Television and radio booths along with suites are located on the third level and the club suites occupy the first level. The press box is located inside of Gate F on the west side of the stadium. The new press box, which offers catering services, can accommodate approximately 1,200 people, including the media, coaching staffs and premium season ticket holders. The other campaign affiliated with the stadium renovation is the Rose Bowl Legacy Campaign. The project will ensure that the history and traditions of the Rose Bowl are preserved for future generations. Working with the city of Pasadena, UCLA and the Tournament of Roses, the campaign's goal is to raise $25 million in private donations to complete funding of the renovation. During Phase 1 of the campaign, larger gifts will be solicited. A Phase 2 effort will follow in 2012, providing members of the public an opportunity to contribute. Already completed as part of the renovation is installation of a state-of-the-art video board at the north end of the stadium that measures 78 feet by 30 feet, a vintage scoreboard at the south end, and widened tunnels and additional aisles to expedite spectator flow in and out of the stadium. When complete, officials say, the renovation will improve public safety; enhance fan experience; maintain the national historic landmark status of the Rose Bowl stadium; and augment the stadium's facilities. The financing plan includes lease extensions that ensure UCLA will play its home games at the Rose Bowl through 2042 and the Rose Bowl Game will be played there through at least 2043. "We are pleased with the renovation progress made to date as part of phase one," said Victor Gordo, board president of the Rose Bowl. "We look forward to phases two and three and the completion of the project to coincide with the 100th Rose Bowl game in 2014." UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero also praised the renovation progress. "We know the upgrades will make for a more enjoyable experience for our students, alums, other UCLA fans and fans from visiting schools," he said. The focus of the multimillion dollar, three-phase project is streamlining tunnel ingress/egress, improving concourse circulation, increasing the number of concession stands and restrooms, providing premium seating in a rebuilt press box, a new scoreboard and cutting-edge video board. The renovation also addresses key stadium infrastructure needs that will allow the facility to continue to operate for decades to come, officials said. Work began in January 2011 and will continue through August 2013. Primary funding comes from bonds issued by the city of Pasadena. Renovations are not affecting UCLA football games or Rose Bowl BCS games. Outside of the press box renovation, work on most other elements of the project is pallned between football season. Officials said no additional donations or ticket price increases will be required to fund the renovation.

********** Published: November 10, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 30

NewsEric Pierce