I am very excited to announce our newest partnership with Toyota, said Leslie Alexander, owner of the Houston Rockets and Comets. Toyota is a leader among car manufacturers, and I look forward to a long and successful relationship. The Toyota name is known all around the world, but what really impressed me was the companys commitment to the state of Texas and the Houston community. My goal has always been to win championships and give back to the community. Our teams have won a total of six championships in our previous home, and I look forward to even better success in the new Toyota Center.
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., the regional distributor Gulf States Toyota, Inc. and the Houston Power Team Dealers joined Rockets and Comets President and Chief Executive Officer George Postolos for this announcement, which took place inside the soon-to-be completed Toyota Center. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
We challenged ourselves to devise a creative partnership that would go beyond the typical naming rights agreements that are common these days, said Postolos. The Tundra Zone and the vehicle showroom are prime examples of the creativity and innovation that set this partnership apart from others around the country.
The Tundra Zone will consist of a double-size suite, which will accommodate current and potential Toyota customers. The signature element of the Tundra Zone will be the placement of an actual Toyota Tundra in the suite, marking the only in-bowl vehicle display in any arena in the country. Additionally, fans attending events at Toyota Center will have the opportunity to view the latest models of Toyota cars and trucks at the Toyota automobile showroom located in the north section of the main concourse.
Toyota Center will offer a comprehensive array of amenities, including street-level entry onto the main concourse, wider space between seats for easier access, a fine dining restaurant and a state-of-the-art center-hung scoreboard and sound system package. Toyota Center will also feature the best in premium services, including two spacious club lounges offering a view of the court and an exclusive courtside lounge.
Dan Friedkin, president of the Friedkin Companies, Inc., which owns Gulf States Toyota, is a real supporter of Houston and Texas. It was his idea and initiative to have Toyota name this new arena.
Toyota Center is the culmination of a long-term vision for Toyota in the Houston marketplace, said Friedkin. It is an indication of the growth and popularity of the Toyota brand in this market and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Houston.
Deborah Wahl Meyer, corporate marketing manager, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., said Toyota Center offers a premier branding opportunity for Toyota in Houston.
Toyota is a commanding brand that has garnered tremendous support in Houston. This exciting partnership with the Houston Rockets is nothing short of a championship team, said Meyer. This is the first time Toyota has named an arena and represents a natural extension of Toyotas commitment to the city of Houston and the state of Texas, which spans for more than 30 years.
As a leader in the worldwide market, Toyota will also be able to enhance its brand awareness in Asia through the international exposure offered by the Houston Rockets, said Meyer. For this and many other reasons, our partnership with the Rockets offers a mutually beneficial relationship and one of the most exciting in our history.
Toyota was introduced to Houston more than three decades ago and today is home to 20 Toyota dealerships, a regional distributorship and a vehicle processing center. Over the past year, Toyota dealers have invested more than $40 million in new facilities and improvements of existing facilities in Houston and currently employ more than 2,500 associates.
This announcement comes on the heels of Toyotas announcement of its new truck plant made earlier this year in San Antonio. The new plant will build approximately 150,000 Tundra full-size trucks and represents an $800 million investment by Toyota. When it begins production in 2006, it is expected to bring approximately 2,000 new jobs to Texas and indirectly create many more.
In addition, Toyota has invested in the Texas community through programs such as technician college scholarships in Texas, sponsorship of the Houston and Dallas science fairs and major support of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation.
This arena and the Rockets organization are world class, and we are proud to have the Toyota name associated with them, said Toby Hynes, president of Gulf States Toyota, Inc. Today, I am also excited to announce that Dan Friedkin is extending our sponsorship beyond the walls of this arena. Gulf States Toyota is working with the Houston Rockets and will soon announce Toyotas sponsorship of another community initiative to support youth education and sports in Houston.
The Houston Toyota Power Team Dealers rallied its support for Toyota Center. Mike Calvert, president of the association, expressed appreciation to the community for helping to build Toyotas leadership position in Houston.
Like the Rockets, our goal is to consistently deliver a winning experience for our customers, said Calvert. We invite fans to visit the arenas on-site showroom and discover what Toyota quality means.
Toyota has supported a variety of sporting events for the past 35 years. While Toyota Center will be the first arena named by Toyota, Toyota has sponsorship affiliations with many teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Giants, Detroit Red Wings, Memphis Redbirds, Los Angeles Dodgers, Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Coyotes.
About Toyota Center
Beginning in September 2003, Toyota Center will be home to the two-time NBA champion Houston Rockets, four-time WNBA champion Houston Comets and one-time AHL champion Houston Aeros. Located in downtown Houston at the corner of Polk and LaBranch, within walking distance of the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park, the Toyota Center will have estimated seating capacities of 18,500 for basketball, 17,800 for hockey and 19,300 for concerts. The 775,000-square-foot multi-purpose arena will be owned by the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and operated by Clutch City Sports & Entertainment under the terms of a 30-year lease.
About Toyota Motor Sales
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm for Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles in the U.S. Toyota is Americas fourth-largest automaker and manufactures more than one million cars per year in North America. TMS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation; ADRs are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: TM). Established in 1957, TMS oversees operations of more than 1,395 Toyota and Lexus dealerships in 49 states. TMS goal is to become the most successful and respected car company in America. The companys main Web site is www.toyota.com.
About Gulf States Toyota and Houston Toyota Power Team Dealers
Houston-based Gulf States Toyota is the independent distributor serving 143 dealers in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. There are 20 Toyota dealerships in the greater Houston area. Gulf States Toyota introduced the first Toyotas into the region in 1969.