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Sempra Combines Promotion and Sales to New Sports Arena

Sempra Combines Promotion and Sales to New Sports Arena

Joining a sports marketing push that is picking up momentum among energy companies nationally, Sempra Energy has inked a combination energy services and promotional deal with the operators of a new basketball-hockey arena being built in downtown Los Angeles. Sempra's CEO indicated this was just the first of a series of "major branding initiatives" the newly formed San Diego-based utility holding company will be rolling out over the next 12 months.

Sempra's unregulated energy services provider, Sempra Energy Solutions, has negotiated an agreement to provide the overall energy infrastructure to the new sports arena now under construction adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center and an adjacent entertainment district that will be developed in the immediate area. The deal includes doing all of the energy commodity buying for gas and electricity for the arena and surrounding venues.

At the same time, Sempra Energy has become a "founding partner" in the arena, which has been named for the business supplies retailer, Staples. Sempra will get a number of promotional and marketing opportunities at the Staples Arena as a founding partner, including a custom-built interactive display that will educate sports fans about the energy component of the new arena, scheduled to open by the end of 1999 for use by the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers professional basketball teams and the Los Angeles Kings pro hockey team.

"We're leading the way among energy-services companies in entering the sophisticated world of sports marketing, while also supporting the greater Southern California community," said Dick Farman, Sempra's chairman/CEO. Farman noted that the Staples Arena deal is the first indication of his company's "aggressive national branding campaign." As one of 12 founding partners, Sempra is joining other firms such as Bank of America and United Airlines. In and around the complex there will be a number of promotions, such as signage, video displays, Freeway-adjacent marquees and even space on the athletic arena's Internet web site now under development.

Sempra's Los Angeles-based natural gas utility, Southern California Gas, serves the area covered by the new arena.

Richard Nemec, Los Angeles

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