ALSD: An Authority on the Surging Luxury Suite Market for Brokers

By Alfred Branch, Jr.

Secondary resellers take note: The luxury suite market is growing at an impressive rate even though fewer suites are being built, according to one of the leading industry experts.

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Bill Dorsey, founder and executive director of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors, estimates there are 30,000 luxury suites in 75 markets in the U.S., which generates revenues of more than $10 billion annually. While some arenas or stadiums frown on reselling the 16 seats of the average luxury suite, Dorsey said the market is full of opportunities for brokers. . .

“The last thing these teams and stadiums want is empty boxes, because it can hurt their negotiating stance,” said Dorsey, who has been at the helm of the ALSD for its entire 18-year existence, which includes an annual convention. “Suites are leased, so this is a business about renewals.”

Dorsey will be attending and speaking at this month’s TicketSummit 2007, the leading convention for the secondary ticket industry, July 17-19 in Las Vegas.

Over the past several years, Dorsey said he’s seen the cost of leasing luxury suites double, and even triple, due to the increased demand because the number of suites has purposely been limited. He has also seen the level of customization of suites increase, where now corporations turning to more branding opportunities and can have their company logos and other images hang on the walls of the room as pieces of art or screened onto various items or products throughout.

Of the four major sports, football is far and away the king when it comes to luxury suite opportunities, partly because of the sport’s overall popularity and the limited number of games. Basketball and hockey are next, Dorsey said, followed by baseball, which is slightly hampered by a lot of available inventory in addition to the high number of home games, 81.

“There seems to be a magic number for each of these sports that will maximize demand. Baseball is looking to keep stadiums in the 39,000 to 40,000 range, basketball and hockey try to stay in the 18,000 to 21,000 range, and football is in the 65,000 to 70,000 range.”

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In those luxury suites, the accoutrements continue to become more upscale. Besides the requisite big, flat-panel televisions, suites are also experimenting with touch screen ordering and ticketing, Dorsey said. Also, many suites are turning to a single food and services bill for the season, which simplifies the process and ensures that the lessee won’t receive several bills after each use.