Education Seminar: Life at the Intersection
of Real Estate, Sports, & Entertainment
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Thanks so much to David Branch, Senior Partner & Managing Broker of Site Services Group, LLC., for putting together a fascinating overview of the powerful impact of sports venue redevelopment, the reimagining of the fan experience, and the significance on the commercial real estate community. David has gained both extensive knowledge and experience on this subject since he and ten other partners have been joined together since 2010 to develop the 1,300-acre, $100+ million dollar Lakepoint Sporting Community adjacent to Lake Allatoona in Bartow County. Lakepoint is a premier sports vacation destination combining indoor and outdoor sports venues with surrounding hotels, restaurants, retail and entertainment.
Our two panelists for this program represented the preeminent professional sports teams in our home town. Adam Zimmerman is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Atlanta Braves and SunTrust Park. Michael Drake is the new Senior Vice President for Corporate Partnerships and Premium Sales for the Atlanta Hawks. Before coming onboard with the Hawks, Michael served as the Chief Revenue Officer of Business Operations for Arthur Blank’s AMB Sports and Entertainment where he was responsible for strategies and services on behalf of the 1.5 billion Mercedes Benz Stadium as well at for the Atlanta Falcons and MLS Atlanta United franchises.
All three individuals explored the rapidly-evolving world of sports + business, focusing on efforts to create a dynamic and compelling experience for the public. Adam spoke about the overall success of the venue of SunTrust Park and the performance of the The Battery as a lifestyle destination. While the community was initially worried about traffic issues, access is far easier from multiple points around the stadium and was helped by naming all of the parking areas. Last year when the Braves were playing their inaugural year at SunTrust Park, only about 35% of The Battery was open. Now that The Battery is nearly 85% complete projections are excellent for continued performance with revue for The Battery in December being greater than in any month of the Braves initial season.
Michael summarized the dramatic transformation underway at Philips Arena. Ticket holders don’t just have access to their seat - they will have an amazing choice of food, beverage, entertainment, and personal care options all throughout the arena, making the overall experience more interactive and exciting. He also spoke on the major plans of Atlanta Hawk’s Owner Tony Ressler and Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank to revolutionize The Gulch with a proposed $1-billion, mixed use project in conjunction with CIM Group from Los Angeles. And in an effort to build champions, Michael also talked about the partnership the Hawks now have with Emory Healthcare, emphasizing player development, peak performance and comprehensive player care.
This lively and exciting panel addressed many questions from the crowd who gained a much clearer insight into the real estate decisions that have driven the success of all of these projects. These are pioneering projects, championing our professional sports teams while enriching our entire community. We greatly appreciate the efforts of David Branch and our ACBR Education Committee for putting this seminar together, and we are grateful to Adam Zimmerman and Michael Drake for their inspired dedication to the commercial real estate community and to their tremendous efforts on making a winner of the City of Atlanta.
David has over thirty years of experience in the areas of site acquisition services, institutional land investment services, and corporate real estate advisory services.
David has negotiated a number of Atlanta’s most significant land and investment properties transactions, including the ground lease for IBM’s 50 story office tower in Midtown, the acquisition of Alltel’s 68 acre regional headquarters complex in Alpharetta, the land assemblage of the 25 acre Securities Centre Office Park in Buckhead and the sale of the three city block Peachtree Portal Property in Downtown Atlanta, which was recognized as the Atlanta Business Chronicle 2003 LAND DEAL OF THE YEAR.
As a corporate real estate advisor, David has represented clients on numerous national and regional headquarters relocations and build- to-suit requirements throughout the United States, which collectively total well in excess of one million square feet of space.
A frequent speaker and seminar panelist on land marketing and land investment services, David has also represented numerous banking, office, hotel and retail users in site acquisition, disposition and land assemblage assignments.
In 2011, David (working in partnership with Site Services Group’s Chris McShane) successfully completed the assemblage of the 1400± acre LakePoint Sporting Community & Town Center mixed- use development. The LakePoint Project (featuring one of the world’s largest Amateur Sports Complexes) has received numerous industry awards, including Bartow County’s Economic Development Deal of the Year and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best of Atlanta Real Estate Award (Finalist: Land Category). David and Chris McShane also received the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtor’s Alvin B. Cates Award, recognizing the LakePoint Land Assemblage as the Most Outstanding Commercial Real Estate Transaction in Atlanta in 2011.
Longtime marketing executve Michael Drake is the new Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships and Premium Sales for the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club. He most recently served as SVP & Chief Revenue Officer of Business Operations for AMB Sports & Entertainment (AMBSE), overseeing all ticket operations, service initiatives and marketing and analytic strategies for suite, loge, season ticket and seat license sales for the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS).
In his new role, Drake will be charged with driving corporate partnership and new premium space revenue for the organization inside the soon-to-be new Philips Arena. In addition, he will be a key member of the executive team responsible for partnership and innovative activation efforts for the Hawks-related downtown real-estate project taking place around the new arena.
With AMBSE, Drake led an 80-person sales group that helped the Falcons and Atlanta United meet or exceed company sales goals as they opened MBS. Prior to his work on MBS, Drake served as vice president of Legends Global Sales where he led and played a key role in the new stadium projects for two of the NFL’s most historic teams, the San Francisco 49ers (Levi’s Stadium) and the Dallas Cowboys (AT&T Stadium).
Adam is in his first season with the Atlanta Braves and was named Vice President of Marketing in January, 2016.
His responsibilities include the management and strategy for all marketing and branding of the Braves, including leading consumer and digital marketing, community affairs, and game entertainment for the team. Zimmerman also oversees the development of technology offerings for fans as well as the use of data analytics. Additionally, Zimmerman helps with the marketing strategy for The Battery Atlanta, the Braves’ new mixed-use development project adjacent to SunTrust Park.
Prior to the Braves, Zimmerman spent 18 years with CSE (formerly Career Sports and Entertainment), most recently as agency president, successfully generating new business, managing their existing portfolio, and leading the award winning agency with cutting edge programs and fan engagement through technology. While at CSE, Zimmerman also crafted a partnership with MIT and created CSE Evolve, an in-house lab to keep up on the latest technologies. Zimmerman has also taught a graduate class on sports business at the University of Georgia.
A native of Dunedin, Florida, Zimmerman is a graduate of the University of Florida and resides in Vinings, Georgia.