Rives Adds to Its Sports Portfolio

Rives Carlberg has boosted it reputation as the premier sports facility marketer in its hometown by winning Reliant Park.

Formerly called the Astro-domain Complex, the Houston park will ultimately include five venues: Reliant Astrodome, Reliant Hall, Reliant Arena, Reliant Stadium (future home of the Houston Texans) and a 1.4 million square foot convention hall, Reliant Center, now under construction.

Rives Carlberg was selected to market the multi-purpose complex—the largest of its kind in the country—following a review of six undisclosed agencies.

The advertising budget for Reliant Park is estimated at under $1 million. But it adds to Rives’ growing specialization in sports event and facilities marketing, which now represents nearly $5 million in annual billings. The agency handles advertising for the new NFL franchise, the Houston Texans, as well as Houston 2012, an organization promoting the city as a host for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Reliant Park was a natural fit with Rives’ current roster, said agency account supervisor Rochelle Mintz.

“When you add all those accounts together, they all take place within one square block of each other,” she said. “In a way we were already promoting Reliant Park running ads getting people to buy tickets for the Texans.”

Both the new stadium and the convention center are scheduled to open in August 2002. Rives has been running a permanent seat license campaign for two years, as well as advertising for Texans’ season tickets. “Our goal is to sell out the stadium before the team even takes the field,” said Mintz.

“Their knowledge of our events and industry definitely played a role [in the award],” said SMG-Reliant Park president and general manager Shea Guinn. “It wasn’t a determining factor, but we considered it.”

The account will include both trade and consumer advertising. Reliant is seeking major entertainment acts, conventions and trade shows to fill the massive 300-acre park.

The land and all the buildings, including the two domed stadiums, are owned by Harris County and operated by SMG of Philadelphia, a major facilities manager.

“We truly market to everyone, from the concert industry to offshore technology conferences,” said Guinn. “Rives understands our desire to reposition Reliant Park while preserving the rich history of the area.”