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Panasonic To Be A Sponsor At L.A. Live

LA Times, January 07, 2009

Panasonic will be one of eight companies in such deals with the AEG venue.

By Alana Semuels

AEG, the company that owns and operates the budding entertainment hub L.A. Live, plans to announce today that it has secured Panasonic System Solutions Co. as a founding sponsor for the venue, despite the difficulties of attracting advertisers in the current economy.

Panasonic will be one of eight sponsors committing to multimillion-dollar contracts over several years. Others include Coca-Cola Co., American Express Co. and Wachovia Corp.

Details of the Panasonic deal were not disclosed.

L.A. Live is a $2.5-billion entertainment project that features a music venue, a movie theater, a Grammy museum and dozens of restaurants spread over 4 million square feet in downtown Los Angeles. A high-rise hotel and condo on the property are not yet open.

Under the terms of the partnership, Panasonic will install more than 1,000 TV monitors throughout L.A. Live, as well as an 8,000-square-foot screen that AEG says is the largest in North America.

The companies plan to use L.A. Live to unveil and showcase Panasonic products and solicit consumer feedback on them, said J.M. Allain, president of Panasonic System Solutions.

"We want this campus to not just equal Times Square but be ahead of Times Square in its technology," AEG President Timothy J. Lieweke said.

Advertising and sponsorship dollars are getting tougher to attract. IEG Sponsorship Report, a trade magazine, predicts North America growth in that industry of just 2.2% from 2008 to 2009, which would be the smallest increase in the forecast's history.

Entertainment sponsorship, which L.A. Live would fall under, is projected to rise just 1.9% overall.

Flat-screen television companies have ramped up their sponsorship commitments in the last few years, said William Chipps, senior editor with IEG Sponsorship Report.

In a competitive market, they're eager to get their products in front of consumers at different venues and stadiums, he said.

The Panasonic deal will also put its products in other AEG venues, including 12 that are planned or completed in China. "We look at this as an investment in future technologies," Allain said.