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UBS Arena and Moody Center sign Heineken, Dell deals

The US division of Dutch brewing company Heineken has agreed a partnership with UBS Arena, the future home of NHL ice hockey team the New York Islanders, while Dell Technologies has signed on as the premier founding partner of the new Moody Center at the University of Texas at Austin (UT).

Heineken USA will be the exclusive beer and hard seltzer partner of the UBS Arena, which is scheduled to open for the 2021-22 NHL season at a cost of $1.1bn (£793.7m/€912m). Heineken USA will be the exclusive marketer of the entire beer category at the arena, including alcohol-free beer, cider and hard seltzer.

As a founding partner of UBS Arena, exclusive beer of the Islanders and an official partner of the UBS Arena Concert Series, Heineken will receive four branded bars throughout the venue. Each will be uniquely designed to evoke a boutique hospitality experience through a “modern interpretation of classic East Coast architecture”.

One of Heineken’s branded spaces includes an outdoor terrace bar designed with the fan experience in mind. The open-air setting will have views to the adjacent Belmont Park racetrack.

Jonnie Cahill, chief marketing officer of Heineken USA, said: “It’s an incredible opportunity to be a founding partner of this new state of the art arena. Through modern design inspiration, Heineken’s branded bars will bring sports fans and concertgoers an unforgettable experience.

“As the first imported beer to arrive in New York once prohibition ended in 1933, we wanted to give fans that same exciting experience when they return to entertainment venues this fall.”

As part of the exclusive partnership with the team, Heineken and the Islanders will codevelop programming that includes strategic branding and in-market fan activations. Swiss financial services company UBS acquired naming rights to the facility back in July 2020, in a deal worth a reported $275m.

UBS agreed a 20-year contract for the 19,000-seat arena. Commenting on the Heineken deal, Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group (OVG) and leader of the arena project, said: “Their rich history and proud New York heritage makes Heineken the ideal foundational partner to complement UBS Arena’s timeless and classic design and further enhance our guest experience.

“Together we look forward to welcoming home the New York Islanders and live entertainment audiences this fall to the last great arena built for this generation.”

Meanwhile, Dell Technologies has joined forces with another OVG project in the form of the Moody Center. The deal comes 37 years on from when Michael Dell founded the company in a small University of Texas at Austin dorm room.

UT, OVG and Live Nation Entertainment broke ground on the new 15,000-seat, multi-purpose arena back in December 2019. Due for completion in April 2022, the $338m arena will replace the 42-year-old Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center at the university campus. It will serve as the home of the university’s basketball teams and will also host graduations, community events and concerts.

The sponsorship deal includes naming rights to the newly built exterior Dell Technologies Plaza, which is intended to become an entertainment destination of its own, hosting post-game shows and community events year-round.

Commenting on the agreement in a blog post, Liz Matthews, senior vice-president of Dell Technologies Global Brand & Creative, said: “To us, this is so much more than just a sponsorship – our involvement is a symbol of our commitment to our community and our mission to not just preserve – but evolve and grow – the very things that have made Austin, Austin.”

She added: “There’s no slowing down the growth we’re experiencing here in Austin. What we can do is come together as a community to collectively preserve the very things we love about Austin while helping to drive new ideas and lead the city into its next chapter. As we do so, let’s remember to keep Austin weird… and innovative!”