Scott O’Neil was named president, Madison Square Garden Sports on July 29, 2008 and oversees all aspects of business operations for the three sports teams, the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty, as well as the Sports Properties area, which includes college and high school basketball, boxing, track and field and all other sports events. He also spearheads sponsorship sales for the teams, arena and all arena events and is focused on expanding the Garden’s portfolio of events, franchises and properties. Scott was previously at the National Basketball Association, where, as senior vice president, he oversaw the league’s team marketing and business operations. He also oversaw the NBA’s Canadian Business and the NBA Development League.
Michael Jordan once called it, “the mecca of basketball.” Evander Holyfield said, “You’re happy to get the opportunity to fight here… that’s how you become a part of what they call history.” Wayne Gretzky echoed the sentiments of many other athletes when he referred to it as “the greatest arena, with a unique energy and electricity every time you’re there.” And Elton John once said, “This is without a doubt the most exciting venue in the world, bar none, to play…it’s a magical place.”
Universally recognized as the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden opened its doors in 1879 and lives up to its moniker by continuing to embrace generations of fans, who come to express their pride and passion for the biggest and best known names in sports and entertainment. For marketing partners, Madison Square Garden strives to create access to powerful interactive opportunities, which combine the thrill of sporting events and the joy of entertainment with the unrivaled historic pedigree of the building itself.
In a challenging economic environment, it is important for brands to maximize marketing dollars through optimal partnerships. MSG is the only major sports and entertainment venue in Manhattan and we are seeing a real “flight to quality.” MSG offers one-stop-shopping for companies looking to deliver unique experiences. Located in the heart of New York City and above Penn Station, the country’s busiest transportation hub, no other venue is more easily accessible and offers as wide a range of events and distribution channels to inspire a specific demographic group or a broad array of consumers.
In 2008, Madison Square Garden hosted four million guests and more than 250 sports and entertainment events, making it the busiest venue in the United States. With on-premises event space that includes its 19,000 seat arena, 5,600 seat WaMu Theater and 36,000 square foot Expo Center, MSG is an ideal partner for organizations that share the same values and are excited about providing powerful experiences for customers and a passionate fan-base.
In addition to the arena complex, Madison Square Garden (or MSG as it is affectionately called) is comprised of several properties:
- MSG Sports includes the New York Knicks (NBA), the NY Rangers (NHL), the NY Liberty (WNBA) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (American Hockey League). This division also encompasses college basketball, elite boxing matches, marquee track and field, and has expanded significantly the last few years. 2008 saw the return of tennis with the NetJets Showdown, a sold-out tennis match featuring Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, as well as the addition of the Tyson American Cup gymnastics event and the second year of the popular Professional Bull Riders Invitational.
- MSG Entertainment (MSGE) includes concerts and events at the historic Radio City Music Hall, MSG, The Wa-Mu Theater at MSG, the Beacon Theatre, and the legendary Chicago Theatre. MSGE also manages wholly-owned live entertainment properties, including the Radio City Rockettes and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
- MSG Media is comprised of television networks MSG, MSG Plus and Fuse, the only national music television network, as well as MSG Interactive, and it oversees all company television, wireless and online initiatives which cover the entire NY DMA of 25 million homes.
MSG events can be distributed and promoted via the two in-house television networks to expand exposure to a very large consumer base. For example, this year we introduced a new program called “The Road to MSG” that chronicled different music acts in advance of the “Jingle Ball” concert which took place at MSG. Additionally, any event that takes place at The Garden can be promoted through MSG Media, the collection of 16 different websites, blogs and social networks reaching nearly two million unique visitors per month. MSG also offers marketers visibility on our video marquees with signage which are positioned on two New York City avenues and seen by 1.7 million people each day.
A potential partner can find a number of different options, suitable for any budget at MSG: television, radio, print, online, signage, tickets, and promotions. All partnerships are customized to fit your needs and each Garden team exhibits its own personality, energy and attitude – providing partners choices that best fit their respective brands.
- The Knicks, who drafted Danilo Gallinari in the 2008 NBA Draft, are rich in history, heritage and passion, and have an exciting future built around new coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offensive style. As one of the most successful NBA coaches over the last five years, D'Antoni is also an Italian League legend as both player and coach. He was the country's premier guard for 13 years with Milan, leading them to five Italian League titles, two Cups of Europe, one Korac Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup. As head coach, D'Antoni led Benetton Treviso and Phillips Milan for eight seasons and was named Coach of the Year twice.
- The Rangers have a storied reputation built on tradition, pride and teamwork and are supported by fiercely passionate and loyal fans. The team is currently in the midst of a sell-out streak which exceeds 135 games. In the last three seasons, the Rangers have thrilled fans with energetic hockey and returned to the Stanley Cup playoffs; the international roster includes players from Sweden, the Czech Republic, Russia, Finland, and Ukraine.
- The Liberty offers affordable basketball and family entertainment to a diverse and devoted fan base. The team made history last season by hosting the first professional regular season outdoor game at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which normally hosts tennis. All team members are playing in Europe during the off-season.
We are enthusiastic about working with our partners to customize marketing packages. For example, American Express provides card members with access to unique experiences in sports and entertainment at MSG through early ticket on-sales, special Membership Rewards experiences like Zamboni [the ice resurfacing machine] rides and the Ultimate Tour, a new offering that will give a group of card members the most exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of MSG with a roster of Knicks and Rangers greats.
Another example is the T-Mobile “Ultimate Fan” promotion which celebrates the passion of Knicks fans and provides a way for them to “stick together” with the team. The promotion runs in-arena and online at www.knicksnet.com through the end of the season. Also new this season is the T-mobile “Fave 5” ticket package, the first ever offering of any five Knicks games for $99, with buyers receiving a fun Knicks/T-Mobile sweatshirt. This fall, Madison Square Garden is set to undergo a state-of-the-art renovation which will further enhance the building’s, offerings with a new lobby, wider concourses, brand new luxury boxes, and an array of amenities that will make the building an even more powerful marketing tool. MSG is currently looking for one Marquee Partner and a few Signature Partners to share the joy and excitement of the renovation right from the beginning. The popularity of new premium seating and hospitality opportunities the last two seasons underscores the tremendous interest in a VIP association with MSG. A relationship with MSG would not be complete without understanding the importance of our charitable endeavors. Community outreach has long been a priority and we are enormously proud of our company-wide commitment to the Garden of Dreams Foundation. Garden of Dreams showcases MSG’s unique approach to philanthropy, leveraging the power, access and reach of Madison Square Garden to create unique and unforgettable activities which bring joy to children in crisis. These experiences often involve unprecedented access to MSG celebrities, events and venues, and to date 90,000 children have benefitted. We believe this is one more reason why our partners take pride in the relationship. For millions of people each year, Madison Square Garden is more than a destination, sports teams, television networks, and events. It has the privilege of occupying a mythical position within the heart of the most important city in the world and is a collection of diverse and powerful sports and entertainment brands. During a time when companies are looking to get the most value from their marketing dollars, we urge them to leverage the magic of MSG and create an association with the world’s most famous arena.
For more information on becoming a Madison Square Garden partner, please contact Ron Skotarczak, SVP, Sales, at 00 1 (212) 465-6530 or Ron.Skotzrczak@thegarden.com