Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame has agreed to an “all-inclusive” multi-year partnership with Legends—the sports hospitality, sponsorship and sales consultancy and experiential agency—to manage operations and fan experience at the Hall.
Legends will work across every major facet of the Hall of Fame’s business, managing services including sponsorship sales, ticketing, hospitality, merchandise and activation of its global tourism network.
“We’ve kind of been running solo for quite a while, and we’ve had success, but knowing the resources that we can take advantage of with Legends—a global company—to help us really meet some lofty goals that we have and continue to grow [is huge],” Kimberly Beaudin, president and CEO of the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, said in an interview.
Beaudin said the Hall’s attendance has steadily increased each year since it relocated to Atlanta from South Bend, Ind., in 2014. In addition to ticket sales and some ancillary income from merchandise sales, private event revenues and sponsor dollars were among the Hall of Fame’s top revenue streams prior to the pandemic.
“Like any live event venue or attraction, we’ve had our share of challenges in the last 18 months with all of our revenue streams pretty much decimated for a period of time due to COVID,” Beaudin said. “We’re seeing attendance getting pretty close to 2019 levels and some positive movement on the events side, but that’s really going to be the last thing to come back. So we’re excited to have Legends’ expertise in all of this as we continue to [position] the Hall as the premier Hall of Fame in the country.”
A shrine to college football’s greatest, the non-profit Hall of Fame houses both artifacts and interactive, experiential multimedia exhibits. With 50,000 square feet of event space and a newly constructed on-site podcast studio, home of SEC football podcast The JBoy Show, which was acquired by Colin Cowherd’s The Volume in September, the venue itself has potential, not to mention the market it’s in.
“Football is certainly one of the pillars when you look at sports entertainment, and so when we think about the College Football Hall of Fame, we think about it right up there with the iconic brands that are in our sphere,” said Mike Tomon, co-president and COO of Legends. “Our business is focused on premium experiences wherever people congregate. When you look at the proposition of the College Football Hall of Fame, that’s ultimately it…. It’s a great place for partners and sponsors to be engaged.”
The Hall, which falls under the National Football Foundation’s umbrella, counts Chick-Fil-A, Atlanta’s Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, Coca-Cola, Kia Motors, Allstate and The Home Depot, among others, as current corporate sponsors.
The Hall is one of many properties Legends works with in Atlanta. The consultancy signed a partnership with Georgia Tech in late 2020, taking over the athletic department’s multi-media rights from Learfield IMG College and bringing all of the Yellow Jackets’ revenue streams under a single umbrella. Legends has also worked with the Atlanta Falcons and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as well as the Hawks’ State Farm Arena and the NBA club’s Emory Sports Medicine Complex.
Legends, co-founded in 2008 by the New York Yankees and Jones Concessions LP, an affiliate of the Dallas Cowboys, was valued at $1.35 billion earlier this year, when private equity firm Sixth Street purchased majority ownership of the company. Sixth Street now owns 51% of Legends, while the Cowboys and Yankees each own just over 20%, and an undisclosed investor holds the rest.