In this Power Players section, Sports Business Journal recognizes the leaders in facility design and development. From architects and construction firms to acoustics and retractable roof experts, these are the folks who are at the planning table at the beginning and whose visions ultimately make each venue unique. Our Power Players series launched on April 18, 2016, with a look at the influencers in the design and construction world. This is the first time that we have revisited a sector, but with a record $8.9 billion in facility openings this year, we thought it was an appropriate time.
Romani founded ICON Venue Group 20 years ago as the sports industry’s first owners representation firm. CAA acquired ICON in 2016 and Barrett Sports Group a year later to create CAA ICON, which counts more than 50 sports and entertainment facilities projects and more than 1,000 consulting jobs in 11 sports leagues around the world, worth a total of $20 billion. Recent projects include Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, Wrigley Field’s restoration and Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. Thornton noted that the firm assisted the Las Vegas Raiders in opening Allegiant Stadium on time and on budget amid the pandemic. The firm also has been actively advising its clients on how to respond to COVID-19, emphasizing technology and efficiency to improve the fan experience through its Recovery Advisory Services. “We viewed this as an obligation to the industry that we serve, not an opportunity to capitalize on an industry that has suffered so much from the shutdowns,” Farha said.