News

Braves Hire Van Wagner To Help Sell Club Seats At New Ballpark

Mar 9th 2015

The consulting agreement comes five months after Van Wagner helped the Braves sign a 25-year naming-rights deal with team sponsor SunTrust Bank. The deal, announced in September, is valued at more than $10 million annually.

The consulting agreement comes five months after Van Wagner helped the Braves sign a 25-year naming-rights deal with team sponsor SunTrust Bank. The deal, announced in September, is valued at more than $10 million annually.

The Atlanta Braves have officially hired Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment to help sell 4,000 club seats at SunTrust Park, which will become the team’s home in 2017.

The consulting agreement comes five months after Van Wagner helped the Braves sign a 25-year naming-rights deal with team sponsor SunTrust Bank. The deal, announced in September, is valued at more than $10 million annually.

Van Wagner is also advising the Braves on signing founding partners for the new park, said Derek Schiller, the team’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.

The Braves maintained control of naming-rights sales, and the same holds true for premium-seat sales and the founding partner program, with assistance from Van Wagner’s team. Those two agreements run through at least the ballpark’s opening in two years.

“The Braves are still ultimately responsible for selling SunTrust Park,”
Schiller said.

On the ticketing front, the focus is finding season-ticket holders for the new facility’s club seats. Turner Field has only 300 club seats, among the fewest in MLB. (Van Wagner is not helping the Braves sell SunTrust Park’s 40 suites.)

The new ballpark, 12 miles north of Turner Field, will feature the 150-seat SunTrust Club, situated directly behind home plate and the park’s most exclusive space, as well as the Home Plate Club behind those seats.

The two lower-level clubs are all-inclusive with food, beverage and parking included in the ticket price. Beer, wine and hard liquor are part of the SunTrust Club ticket package. Mixed drinks are a separate fee in the Home Plate Club.

A third club-seat product, the Terrace Club, is a collection of tables, with four chairs each, one level above the SunTrust and Home Plate clubs. Those tickets will have stored value to buy food and drink, Schiller said.

The seat totals for the Home Plate and Terrace clubs have not been determined. To date, no ticket prices for club seats have been announced.

Van Wagner has hired Evan Gitomer as its project director for SunTrust Park. Gitomer was most recently the Orlando Magic’s assistant director of premium sales. He’s also worked for the Eagles, Coyotes, Nets, Saints and the former Kansas City Wizards.

Gitomer will oversee Van Wagner’s 12-person sales staff working jointly with about the same number of Braves marketers. Together, they will operate from the SunTrust Park Preview Center on the eighth floor of an office building overlooking the stadium construction site in Cobb County.

The group will also have a presence at Turner Field and will meet potential club-seat buyers in the field at their respective offices. Van Wagner is not selling seats for Turner Field, Schiller said.

For the new park, the first step is to set up appointments with existing season-ticket holders at the preview center to convert them to new seats at SunTrust Park, followed by the search for new clients.

“The other important thing is if Van Wagner brings in somebody who doesn’t buy premium seats but still wants to buy a season ticket, [the consultant] has the ability to sell them nonpremium. We want to sell people at a point in time that they want to buy the product.” Schiller said.