MSG Builds Bridges With First Marquee Partner, JPMorgan Chase

Arena Revamp Will Give Room for More Branding, Including Structure That Will Allow Fans to Walk Over Events

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JPMorgan Chase is attempting to build a bridge with Madison Square Garden during the transformation of "the world's most famous arena" by becoming its first marquee partner. Actually, it's trying to build two.

As MSG begins renovations, now valued above the already estimated cost of $850 million, it has turned to its signature partners, Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola Co. and Anheuser-Bush, to associate their brands with new structures throughout the old stadium. One such structure is the Delta Sky 360 Club, which will be an area in which 700 select season-ticket holders will have the ability to dine only inches away from the players, through glass, as they enter and exit the new locker rooms. With the addition of new concourses, suites, locker rooms, clubs and dinning facilities, a new entrance and the creation of an in-area bowl, there is a great deal of brand space to go around.

MSG's planned new look.
MSG's planned new look.

A statement released by MSG explains, "The transformed Garden will provide new and unique opportunities for marketing partners to drive their business objectives."

One of the most daring feats will be the creation of the Chase Bridges, two 225-feet-plus long bridges that will allow fans to literally walk above an event taking place below and will provide access to the Budweiser Fan Deck, a 10th-floor addition to MSG that will provide a public space for fans. The Chase Bridges, which will be paid for by MSG and not Chase, are scheduled to be ready for the 2013-2014 basketball and hockey seasons.

Fans can even sit on the bridges there if they want, but the ticket prices for bridge seats will vary up to $500 a seat, depending on the event. These one-of -a-kind structures have never been attempted before and a simple glass railing will be the only line of defense to keep fans from falling or throwing items over.

Scott O' Neil, president of MSG Sports, said, "New York is a city known for its bridges, and the incredible Chase Bridges at Madison Square Garden will be one-of -a-kind and provide our great fans with a unique perspective on the game action. We think the Chase Bridges will quickly become a hot spot for fans in the transformed arena, and are proud to have Marquee Partner Chase own what is sure to be a signature element of the Garden along with our iconic ceiling."

Chase's brand will receive permanent presence on the bridges as well as integration into the LED screens, which line the outside of the bridges facing the seated fans.

Chase Bridges
Chase Bridges

Mr. O' Neil described the transformation as a "blending of old tradition with state-of -the-art amenities," during a tour of the transformation center. It was simply time for a change, according to Mr. O' Neil, who said, "It's just old ... 42 years old and it feels every bit."

In addition to the Chase Bridges, Chase has begun a partnership with MSG to create Chase Square, an entrance on New York's Seventh Avenue, and the "1879 Club," presented by JPMorgan.

Thanks to this partnership, Chase customers will be eligible for access to more than 1,200 events annually at the Garden, Theater at MSG, Radio City Musical Hall, Beacon Theatre and Chicago Theater, according to a press release by MSG in September. Yet another change to MSG's look will be the addition of permanent JPMorgan Chase branding that will appear on the marquee outside of MSG between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.

"This whole partnership is really about our customers," said Ryan McInerney, CEO of Chase's consumer bank. He added that one of the goals is , "continuing to provide our customers preferred access to events and unique experiences." "Despite being early in the partnership," he said, "we've had great success," referring to a number of promotional events this past year.

Mr. O' Neil described Chase as a "terrific partner" and the relationship between MSG and Chase as "symbiotic," adding, "we wanted them to have a higher presence."

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