Westfield’s agreement with Jonathan Byrd’s to manage the indoor soccer facility is expected to cost the city close to $1.6 million over a five-year period.
Jonathan Byrd's Event & Entertainment LLC, which is part of Bryd Enterprises Inc., announced Tuesday that it will handle event scheduling, preparation and coordination; secure sponsorships; and provide marketing and communication services for the two-story indoor soccer complex known as the Grand Park Events Center.
The contract, which expires at the end of 2020, requires the city to make quarterly payments, and the amount increases each year. The total after five years is about $1.6 million.
The 370,000-square-foot indoor soccer facility will feature three full-sized fields, a restaurant operated by Jonathan Byrd’s, offices for Indiana Sports Properties, Grand Park staff and the Indiana Soccer Association, a retail shop for Grand Park merchandise, and possibly other retail and commercial tenants. It is expected to open in July.
Westfield Chief of Staff Todd Burtron said the city didn’t want to hire public employees to run the facility, and Jonathan Byrd’s representatives approached the municipality about a public-private partnership.
“We recognized that we would have to have some expertise in the field of marketing,” Burtron said. “We’re a believer in public-private partnerships. We’re much better together than we are apart. It works really, really well, and it helps control our costs.”
On top of the base contract amount, Jonathan Byrd’s will also receive 20 percent of all sponsorship deals, along with a fee for sponsorship renewals secured by the company. The city could also have to pay for travel and out-of-pocket expenses for Jonathan Byrd’s, but any expense more than $100 must be pre-approved.
Westfield will receive 100 percent of the revenue from use of the facility.
Jonathan Byrd’s will be expected to attract various events to the facility, such as sports tournaments, tradeshows, concerts, job fairs and corporate events, to name a few examples. The company will be responsible for staffing those events, recruiting volunteers, selecting vendors and managing ticket sales.
Burtron said the city has already received inquiries from organizations looking to use the space.
“The phone is already ringing, and that’s why it’s so important that we have a team like Jonathan Byrd’s Events & Entertainment,” Burtron said. “They’re experts.”
Under the agreement, the city maintains the rights to anything the company produces, such as marketing campaign materials, and Jonathan Byrd’s must comply with a non-compete agreement that prohibits the company from conducting similar services within a 200-mile radius.
“They couldn’t take a soccer game or a trade show to another convention-type space within the 200 mile zone,” Burtron said.
According to the contract, Jonathan Byrd’s anticipates hiring two full-time executives and up to six part-time employees. Grand Park only has three full-time staff members.
The deal will be evaluated annually, according to Burtron, and city officials will also be meeting weekly with Jonathan Byrd’s executives to coordinate events. The performance will be somewhat based on how much revenue is produced for the city and customer service evaluations.
“If they don’t perform, we can sever the contract,” Burtron said.
Westfield will also pay for a third-party organization to conduct an analysis on the events at the facility to evaluate the city’s return on investment. The city will continue to be the master lease holder and maintain the building and will have final approval on decisions.
“We still have full control,” Burtron said. “It’s not as if we handed the keys to the building to this group and walked away.”
The contracts were signed at the beginning of April, and the entities announced the partnership Tuesday.
The city had previously approved a similar agreement with Indiana Sports Properties, which already manages outdoor field operations at Grand Park, to operate the indoor facility.
The deal was included in the company’s lease to occupy 3,800 square feet of office space in the complex and specified that Indiana Sports Properties would schedule a variety of events at the complex.
Burtron said both parties agreed around February that Indiana Sports Properties should narrow its focus to only bringing soccer events to the facility, and the city should find another company to manage the venue.
“As we progressed along, both parties realized that probably wasn’t the best fit,” Burtron said of the previous agreement.
CORRECTION: This story has been corrected from its original version, which had an incorrect total for the value of the contract. It has also been changed to say the city will remain the master lease holder of the building.