Tag Archives: San Diego Sports Arena

Naming Rights Report: Valley View Casino Center, San Diego

16 Oct

Date Announced: Oct. 12


Buyers: San Pasqual Development Group, Inc.

Terms: 5 years, with two one-year options, financial terms not released

City of San Diego/AEG/Kobey Swap Meet

Comments: As of Nov. 1, the San Diego Sports Arena has a new name — Valley View Casino Center — to go with its $3 million renovation. The buyer is the San Pasqual Development Group, Inc., the gaming corporation of the San Pasqual tribe which owns and operates the casino and hotel complex in North San Diego County.

“They saw branding opportunities and an ability to get a bunch of customers to special events en masse,” said Ernie Hahn, general manager there for AEG. “They saw an iconic building in downtown San Diego — everybody knows where it is — and that they could help rebrand $3 million in improvements and make both brands better.”

Valley View Casino & Hotel’s marketing efforts have been consistently strong throughout San Diego and of late throughout the entire Southern California region. They are opening a new hotel addition on Nov. 19. The property will now market the Valley View Casino Center alongside its casino and hotel brand.

The venue’s renovation included the addition of a 6,500-sq.-ft. VIP hospitality space, Club 3500, new lower level seats, LCD televisions throughout, an upgraded concourse and arena entrances.

Hahn said the deal includes signage, which will be switched out over the next four to six weeks. The casino will also receive a number of passes to Club 3500.

“An important part of the contract was that in the first year, we will redo the parking lot,” Hahn said. “It is a big endeavor, but at the same time, it will be better for people who come here, and for the Kobey Swap Meet. You can only patch and stripe so many times, when people arrive here, it is the one thing they look at that needs additional help.” — Liz Boardman

Contact: Ernie Hahn, (619) 225-9813


New Sitcom Based on the Exciting Lives of Venue Managers

31 May

Matthew Perry (left) stars in the new ABC sitcom "Mr Sunshine," which looks at the life of an arena GM.

America’s venue managers are finally getting their prime time due.

Television Network ABC has announced a mid-season replacement situation comedy starring Matthew Perry of “Friends”-fame as Ben – a “self-involved manager of a second-rate San Diego sports arena who begins to reevaluate his life on his 40th birthday.”

The show is called “Mr. Sunshine.” It is written and produced by Perry, and has raised some good-natured eyebrows among San Diego venue managers.

“I was surfing in January and a knee-boarder I know asked if I’d heard they were working on a sitcom about me and the arena,” said Ernie Hahn, general manager of the San Diego Sports Arena. “I googled it and to my surprise saw ‘second-rate,’ ‘aging sports arena’ and ‘self-involved.’”

There is only one sports arena in San Diego, and it is aging, Hahn pointed out. There is only one manager who is 40 years old and going through some life changes.

“Right after I turned 40, I sold a majority stake to AEG. So I did a double take,” Hahn said. “I thought ‘Am I getting punked?’”

Hahn said he has had no involvement in the project, beyond talking to a location scout.

“I told him I have 20 years of experience, 15 as general manager,” Hahn said. “I know the business as well as most, and have stories and nuances, and see why it could be a funny sitcom.”

ABC did not have anyone available to comment by Pulse’s deadline, press officials said. The network is working on an upcoming press junket to announce the show.

The show is set at the fictional “Sunshine Arena.” The cast of characters includes Allison Janney (The West Wing) as Perry’s “attractive, powerful and highly erratic” boss and arena owner. In the trailer, she expresses a fear of clowns, and asks Perry to arrange for her to make love to John Cougar Mellencamp when he plays a one-off in the arena; and Andrea Anders (Joey) as Alice, the “cute, tomboyish marketing director and Ben’s friend with benefits” who is also dating James Lesure (“Las Vegas”) as Alonzo, “a former basketball player, handsome and unbelievably happy.”

Nate Torrence – best known as the credit card customer service representative in the David Spade Capital One commercials – plays Ben’s newest employee – the boss’s clueless son. The cast is rounded out by a “hapless operations crew whom Ben refers to collectively as ‘the Steves.’”

In the trailer, the crew grapples with Ben’s 40th birthday, a circus elephant who has gotten loose in the arena, and finding a way to melt the ice floor.

Those situations sounded very familiar to Lee Zeidman, senior VP/GM of Staples Center and Nokia Theatre at LA Live for AEG, Los Angeles. Zeidman said both came up in conversations he had with Perry and executive producer Thomas Schlamme the day they shadowed him at Staples Center, asking a boatload of questions. “It was a double header day three or four months ago,” he said. “They asked a lot of questions about how Staples Center works.” Schlamme directed and produced “The West Wing.”

Zeidman is one who thinks this sitcom could be good for the industry. “It’s entertainment,” he pointed out. While AEG has been approached by Hollywood types about reality shows many times, those are always about issues going wrong. It’s not a reality show unless it’s problematic and that, to him, would likely be detrimental. An entertaining sitcom, however, could be fun. “I’m going to watch it,” he said.

Other venue managers in San Diego said they were not approached about the project.

“The trailer was funny, but I am not sure how accurate it will be,” said John Kolek, facility director of Viejas Arena. “We haven’t heard from anybody at all. But it definitely wasn’t based on me.”

Kolek said the trailer’s exterior shots didn’t look like a San Diego venue. “It almost looked like the old Forum in Los Angeles,” he said. Zeidman said he, too, thought he recognized The Forum, where he used to work, in the preview shots.

“I only learned about it from friends,” said Mike McSweeney, general manager of Qualcomm Stadium at Jack Murphy Field. “Early on, they said it was an aging stadium, but an arena has a diversity of events that offers more storylines. Out here in Mission Valley, we’re still waiting for our 15 minutes of fame.” — Liz Boardman

Contact: Ernie Hahn, (619) 308-4345; Mike McSweeney, (619) 641-3130; John Kolek, (619) 594-0234; Lee Zeidman, (213) 742-7255