Joining a sports marketing push that is picking up momentumamong energy companies nationally, Sempra Energy has inked acombination energy services and promotional deal with the operatorsof a new basketball-hockey arena being built in downtown LosAngeles. Sempra’s CEO indicated this was just the first of a seriesof “major branding initiatives” the newly formed San Diego-basedutility holding company will be rolling out over the next 12months.

Sempra’s unregulated energy services provider, Sempra EnergySolutions, has negotiated an agreement to provide the overallenergy infrastructure to the new sports arena now underconstruction adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center and anadjacent entertainment district that will be developed in theimmediate area. The deal includes doing all of the energy commoditybuying for gas and electricity for the arena and surroundingvenues.

At the same time, Sempra Energy has become a “founding partner”in the arena, which has been named for the business suppliesretailer, Staples. Sempra will get a number of promotional andmarketing opportunities at the Staples Arena as a founding partner,including a custom-built interactive display that will educatesports fans about the energy component of the new arena, scheduledto open by the end of 1999 for use by the Los Angeles Clippers andLakers professional basketball teams and the Los Angeles Kings prohockey team.

“We’re leading the way among energy-services companies inentering the sophisticated world of sports marketing, while alsosupporting the greater Southern California community,” said DickFarman, Sempra’s chairman/CEO.Farman noted that the Staples Arenadeal is the first indication of his company’s “aggressive nationalbranding campaign.” As one of 12 founding partners, Sempra isjoining other firms such as Bank of America and United Airlines. Inand around the complex there will be a number of promotions, suchas signage, video displays, Freeway-adjacent marquees and evenspace on the athletic arena’s Internet web site now underdevelopment.

Sempra’s Los Angeles-based natural gas utility, SouthernCalifornia Gas, serves the area covered by the new arena.

Richard Nemec, Los Angeles

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