Category Archives: Fantasy Sport

For branding, many places adopt signature scents

Between the bouncy music and the stacks of colorful jeans, visitors to the Benetton store on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue might catch a whiff of a growing marketing trend.

Mounted high in the corner beside the store entrance, a scent diffuser, installed in November, spreads a bright spring fragrance modeled after Benetton’s Verde cologne.

“It finishes the emotion we are trying to create in the store,” said Robert Argueta, director of visual merchandising for the United Colors of Benetton, who also is testing the scent in Benetton’s New York flagship store. “It’s the first and last impression a customer gets.”

Long the domain of casinos and hotels, marketing using scent is catching on among retailers and in car showrooms, sports stadiums, airports, banks and apartment buildings that seek to distinguish themselves with customers via the deeply influential sense of smell.

“It’s a way to market above the clutter,” said Roel Ventura, a Seattle-based ambient designer with Ambius, which designs business environments.

The tactic also is gaining traction among businesses hoping to drum up sales, thanks to research that has shown the right scent can open people’s wallets, project a sense of comfort and home (think hotels), shorten the time people believe they’ve been waiting (think banking) or even improve one’s sense of performance (think gym.)

Although smells can be a turnoff or cause health problems for some people, the global scent marketing industry is growing, grossing an estimated $200 million in revenue last year and growing about 10% annually, said Jennifer Dublino, vice president of development at ScentWorld Events, the industry’s trade group in Scarsdale, N.Y.

Scent marketing is divided into two main categories: ambient scenting, which fills a space with a pleasant smell; and scent branding, which develops a signature scent specific to a brand, like an olfactory logo. The former can cost $100 to $1,000 a month depending on the size of the space. The latter can run anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000 plus a monthly maintenance fee.

If the aim is to improve consistency or to create or maintain an iconic brand, a signature scent may be best, said Ed Burke, director of marketing and communications at ScentAir, a leading scent marketing company based in Charlotte, N.C., that says it scents 70,000 locations, including Benetton. Less than 10% of the company’s clients go that route, he said.

“Hugo Boss is a great example of a signature scent,” said Burke, whose company created the rich tamboti wood scent that Hugo Boss pumps through its stores’ heating and air conditioning systems, the preferred delivery method for large spaces. The high-end brand, an early retail adopter of scenting in 2011, at the time sold its apparel mostly in other stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, so scenting was a way to tell a consistent brand story, Burke said.

Some venues use multiple scents. The scent program at the Marlins Park baseball stadium in Miami, launched last month, includes the smell of caramel popcorn in the general concourse areas to create a “whimsical, family atmosphere,” a more sophisticated black orchid aroma in the stadium’s luxury Diamond Club, and a muted orange scent in the team store to reflect the stadium’s history of hosting the Orange Bowl, Burke said.

Some banks have signed on, with research suggesting that scent can shorten the time you feel you’ve been standing in line, said Roger Bensinger, executive vice president for AirQ, a division of Milwaukee-based Prolitech.

AirQ, whose retail clients include Abercrombie & Fitch, luxury designer Pierre Cardin, LensCrafters and Goodwill stores, also has several large gym chains in test mode, a promising opportunity because certain scents, such as peppermint and lemon, can improve the perception of performance, Bensinger said.

Sports To Be Eliminated

A look at the status of the sports to be eliminated at Cal State Long Beach:

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S SWIMMING–“I have to tell my kids that it’s over,” Coach Tim Shaw said Wednesday. “We didn’t save it and it’s time to move on.” Shaw said it was impossible to raise $300,000 by June 1. He had an alternative plan, under which he would have tried to raise $60,000 by Friday to cover the cost of his five scholarships and also work for free. “We couldn’t get close to $60,000 by Friday,” Shaw said.

MEN’S TENNIS–“It’s pretty tough,” said Coach Peter Smith. “I was told I have to raise $75,000 by June 1 and another $70,000 by Jan. 1. Bake sales are out the window.” For help, Smith is looking to one or two individuals and a corporation and is considering holding an exhibition match between pro players he knows. “We have a good following, but unfortunately it’s a middle-class following,” said Smith, whose team is 4-0.

MEN’S GOLF–The operating budget is $40,000 a year, said Daniel Gooch, co-chairman of a committee trying to save the sport. Gooch said he’s given Athletic Director Corey Johnson a budget of $36,000, but that Johnson hasn’t responded. Gooch believes it is unfair that Johnson wants a guarantee of $80,000 to keep the program running for two years. “We’re not assured that the continuation of the men’s golf program is uppermost in Mr. Johnson’s mind,” Gooch said. Coach Del Walker has indicated he would work without his $14,000 in salary and benefits.

Violence in Sports

Regarding fan violence (“Snowballs in Hell,” editorial, Dec. 28): It is just a reflection of the greedy athletes they came out to see. I grew up a N.Y. Giant fan, and as a kid even had season seats at Yankee Stadium. I paid $35 for the seven home games, the tickets were in the bleachers behind the end zone. But come blizzard, rainstorm or whatever nature threw at us, we went. Loyal Giant fans, not like today.

Today’s athletes no longer have the team spirit, the respect for tradition and most of all no respect for the people who made them what they have become, the new breed of fan. A player scores and rather than hand the ball to the referee, he has to do a 10-minute dance routine that the networks show.

Heck, the new loyal fan figures he has to do something outrageous to be on TV like his or her heroes on the field.


Los Angeles

I, like you, was pleased with the way Giant officials are dealing with the irresponsible fans who threw snowballs and iceballs during the Giants/Chargers game. However, consider where these fans learn how to act. Remember the joke “In the middle of a fight a hockey game broke out”? Our sports heroes need equally stiff penalties

Hockey has long been known as a sport where fights were common. Now, there is not a sport that doesn’t have players acting in an unsportsmanlike manner.

The puny financial penalties are certainly not going to scare these millionaires. When irresponsible players are tossed out of the game (or the season), and teams lose because of their irresponsible actions, these players (or their replacements) might then begin to set good examples for their fans.


Van Nuys

In your illuminating presentation of crime and sports, you missed a simple solution. All that is necessary for this nonsense to stop dead in its tracks is: Athletic organizations kick the offenders off the team, regardless. They will come out ahead in the long run. And for the fans to refuse to come to games if the offenders remain on the team and let TV advertisers know that their products will be boycotted if they support teams that retain offenders.

World Cup’s road to Brazil remains bumpy

In 50 days the best athletes in the world’s most popular sport will convene in Brazil, one of soccer’s sacred spiritual homes, for the game’s most important tournament.

It will be a powerful, uplifting tribute to the “beautiful game” that Brazilians have shaped for decades and the new status of a confident, rising global power in Latin America. Locals and foreigners will marvel at shiny new stadiums and glide across the continent-sized country on upgraded infrastructure.

That, at least, is what the government and organizers are hoping will happen given that the price tag for their six-week World Cup party is expected to top $11 billion, a figure local media estimates say is extremely conservative.

And although it’s still likely that things will go well overall, officials and other observers are keenly aware of three types of risks that have emerged: protests, an overwhelmed transportation infrastructure and soccer stadiums that remain incomplete more than seven years after Brazil was awarded the right to stage the World Cup.

There appears little chance that any of these three could interfere with where the real action is, on the field, from which it will be beamed to television sets of every sensible home, bar, and restaurant in the world.

Less than two months before the tournament kicks off, the host country, a five-time World Cup winner, is considered a title favorite along with European powerhouses Spain, the defending champion, and Germany, which is ranked second in the world.

The U.S., which is matched with Germany, Ghana and third-ranked Portugal in the strongest of the eight four-team groups, faces an uphill fight just to get beyond the first round.

When Brazil was awarded the right to host the 2014 World Cup and then the 2016 Olympics (beating Chicago), the victories were widely seen as a recognition of Brazil’s achievements in the first part of the 21st century and its new position on the world stage. Brazil reduced income inequality, 40 million people rose out of poverty into a dynamic new middle class, and the nation powered past the United Kingdom to become the world’s sixth-largest economy.

The World Cup and Olympics, the government said, would not only provide a coming-out party for the futebol-loving nation, but the perfect opportunity to provide much-needed upgrades to Brazil’s creaking infrastructure, especially related to transportation.

But as the tournament approached, it became clear things had not gone entirely according to plan.

At least nine people have died in the construction of the country’s 12 stadiums, and experts have said delaying tactics, corruption, and incompetence around the huge public works have resulted in cost overruns as people have lined their pockets with taxpayer money.

The stadium set to host the opening match June 12 between Brazil and Croatia in São Paulo is still not complete. Critics say that Brazil overstretched, insisting on 12 stadiums instead of eight host cities, then built massively expensive white elephants in remote cities that don’t even have local soccer teams.

More crucial for daily life here is that little was delivered in terms of improved transportation, within and between cities. This could lead to bottlenecks as thousands of fans try to get through the same overstretched airports at the same time. Brazil is a country slightly larger than the continental United States, and hopping around it, even at the best of times, can be a major headache.

The protest movement, meanwhile, came into existence when two issues — World Cup costs and transportation problems — collided last June. In São Paulo, police cracked down on a protest against a bus-fare hike just before last summer’s Confederations Cup— a kind of dress rehearsal for the World Cup. Over the next week a massive outpouring of support for the demonstrators led more than a million people onto the street, rallying for causes that included poor investments in health, education and infrastructure, wasteful spending on the World Cup and police violence.

Review: We Could Be King’ carries the ball as far as it can

For all the dangers football poses to its players, the sport still represents hope to thousands of young men. Judd Ehrlich’s persuasive but slight documentary “We Could Be King” movingly argues for the necessity of high-school athletics, especially in low-income communities, where pigskin is a key tool educators have in encouraging would-be dropouts to stay in school.

After the Philadelphia school board closes 37 schools and merges Martin Luther King High with its Germantown rivals, heroic Ed Dunn oversees the union of the two football teams. Laid off from his job as a math teacher and coach, Dunn volunteers his afternoons to keeping his athletes focused on the field and not on their two-year losing streak. After a few early losses, Dunn guides his team into a series of unlikely wins.

Ehrlich thus makes rousing fodder out of MLK High’s troubles — a decision that rightly celebrates the Cougars’ victories but flattens much of the story line. Neither Dunn nor his students — hulking but distracted Dontae, promising but troubled Sal, and kind, affable Joe — are endowed with dimensions that exceed Ehrlich’s preformed narrative. Watching Dontae give up on reading a difficult book in English class is almost as painful as seeing one of his teammates struggle to stand after a hard tackle. But “We Could Be King” provides no introspection, only inspiration.

New hedge fund bets on sports, literally

Reporting from New York — If you’ve ever deluded yourself that betting on sports was really investing, have we got a hedge fund for you.

Starting on Saturday, the new Centaur Galileo fund in London will be making investments not in the traditional financial playing fields of stocks, oil futures or real estate, but in the actual playing fields of soccer, tennis and horse racing.

Galileo is probably the first hedge fund to make bets on sports events, experts say.

“We put numbers against those things that you and me and everyone in pubs have casual discussions about,” said Tony Woodhams, the managing director at Centaur Group, which operates the fund. “That gives us an edge on these markets.”

It’s not for the average bettor. Galileo requires a minimum investment of 100,000 euros (about $135,000).

Centaur claims to have a proprietary number-crunching system that can make sports bets with far better results than the casual bettor. In fact, the company plans to make money off fluctuations in odds and point spreads that are affected by amateur bets.

“You have a lot of sports fans who are betting for their favorite team,” Woodhams said. “They get excited and discipline goes out the window. All of that provides opportunity for a trader like us to go in a very clinical manner. That’s where the edge is.”

Galileo is only for Europeans for now — Centaur can’t offer it in the U.S. without the blessing of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Woodhams said the company would apply for that approval next year.

So is investing in a sports-betting hedge fund about as sane as pouring money into a Nigerian inheritance deal? There are financial folks who believe such a fund could be a good bet.

Entrepreneur, Dallas Mavericks owner and former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Mark Cuban has long advocated such a fund.

“If they fully commit to a data-driven model, I think they can do well,” Cuban said in an e-mail. “In many respects, stocks are the bigger gamble.”

Others were skeptical, to say the least.

Justin Wolfers, a professor who teaches a class about sports gambling at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, said there are people who make a good living from wagers. But he’s not sure Centaur is in their league.

“Is it plausible that these guys could be as smart and savvy as professional gamblers? Yes it is,” Wolfers said. “But any time anyone in any realm of gambling tells me they can print money — I’m always cynical.”

Centaur will have 25 traders working on its London trading floor (though the fund’s official address is in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, which has an easier regulatory environment). Most of the traders come from a financial background. One of them, Woodhams said, left a job at Goldman Sachs to set up a sports book trading on cricket and tennis.

“In the U.S. you would probably say he was a gambler,” Woodhams said. “In the U.K., we are beginning to recognize these people for what they are — they are professional traders.”

The traders will use statistical modeling to place bets on websites such as Betfair, which is popular in Britain but banned in the U.S. The bets will not just be on matches’ final outcomes — Centaur will also wager on items such as the over-under that takes into account the total points scored.

If profit is made, Centaur will take a 30% cut, a hefty premium over the usual 20% for hedge funds.

Galileo is not Centaur’s first venture into gambling — it operates a training program for professional bookkeepers and since 2000 has run funds for betting on various sports. But unlike Galileo, the previous funds allowed investors to opt out of recommended bets.

Donald Sterling and the problem of pro sports ownership

So Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, stands accused of having made remarks of unbelievable crassness and flavored with a racism that would bring a tear to the eye of Cliven Bundy.

Are you surprised? Me neither. Sterling’s record of difficulty with racial issues is well-documented, including two lawsuits (one from the federal government) alleging racially discriminatory rental practices at his real estate properties. He settled both for millions.

Then there was the lawsuit from long-term Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor accusing Sterling of racial and age discrimination; Baylor lost his case in a 2011 jury trial. Another accusation of racist rhetoric, attributed to veteran college basketball coach Rollie Massimino, dates back to the 1980s. And there’s more.

The fact that Sterling has survived all these prior dustups — and the betting here is that he’ll survive this one, too — says less about Sterling himself than it does about America’s unhealthy relationship with its pro sports tycoons and about the unhealthy structure of pro sports leagues.

Let’s start with the character of the men (and a few women) who have been members of this tiny club. Almost all of them are self-made businesspersons or inheritors of great wealth. Either way, they’ve come up in the world unaccustomed to having their personal whims thwarted. As my former colleague Tom Mulligan reported in a 1996 profile of Sterling, his real estate wealth gave him “the luxury of being able to say no to anything and anybody.”

People in that position have difficulty with impulse control, not to mention empathy with other humans. Add the slavish sycophancy that comes to owners of businesses (like sports teams) that are commonly mistaken for civic assets, and their concerns about how they’re perceived by the public evaporate completely.

Why should a pro sports magnate care about his public reputation when municipal leaders are willing to throw billions of dollars his way to build a new stadium or arena? And if his local leadership balks, there’s always another city willing to step in.

The structure of pro leagues, which are basically alliances of independent entrepreneurs, exacerbate these people’s worst instincts. Consider the behavior that the leagues have found acceptable.

Wrecking a team for profit? Jeffrey Loria has done that with baseball’s Miami Marlins. He’s still an owner.

Abandoning a loyal fan base for profit? Bob Irsay of the NFL Baltimore Colts did that, infamously moving the team to Indianapolis in the dead of night. His son Jim is still the owner of the team.

Failing to invest for success on the field? Lots of guilty parties here, including Peter Angelos, whose Baltimore Orioles have made it into the postseason three times in his 21 years of ownership. Sterling is a standout in this category: Since he acquired the Clippers in 1981, it’s had five winning seasons, going 930-1,646 — a winning percentage of .361.

Felonious activity? Eddie DeBartolo Jr., owner of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, pleaded guilty to a federal felony in connection with the solicitation by former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards of a bribe for a casino license. DeBartolo relinquished control of the team, but this year he was a finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame, and he still hankers for a return to NFL ownership — a goal that several owners say they would favor.

Racism? Leaving Sterling aside, Marge Schott, onetime owner of baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, had a long history of racist and anti-Semitic remarks. Baseball finally suspended her as the team’s principal owner, but she retained a financial interest.

Leagues are reluctant to take firm action against owners for several reasons. One is that their authority to do so, absent some truly egregious act, is murky — even overt racism is a judgment call. Figuring out what to do with an orphaned team is a headache. And fellow owners are loath to lower the bar, possibly because not a few of them have unsavory histories of their own to worry about.

How I Made It: Anita L. DeFrantz, president of the LA84 Foundation

The gig: Olympic medalist Anita L. DeFrantz, 61, is president and a director of the LA84 Foundation, the charitable organization that runs off an endowment of surplus funds from the Los Angeles Olympic Games. In the three decades since those games, LA84 has donated more than $214 million to more than 1,100 Southern California youth sports programs, providing opportunities for more than 3 million children. DeFrantz has spent nearly half her life with the organization, formerly known as the Amateur Athletic Foundation. She was named president in 1987.

Champion performer: DeFrantz was on rowing teams that won six U.S championships and reached the world championship finals four times. She earned a bronze medal in the 1976 Olympics and a silver medal in the 1978 world rowing competition. She made the rowing team for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, but couldn’t compete because of the U.S. boycott. DeFrantz was elected to the International Olympic Committee in 1986 and to the IOC’s executive board in 1992. In 1997, DeFrantz was the first woman elected vice president of the organization. Last year, she was elected again to the IOC board.

No sports allowed: DeFrantz was born in Philadelphia; her mother, Anita, was a teacher and her father, Robert, was a social worker and community activist. DeFrantz was raised in Indianapolis, a segregated place her father called “the northern-most Southern town in the country.” DeFrantz said she had been an avid swimmer since age 4, but opportunities to compete were limited. “There were no sports allowed for African American girls in Indianapolis. Nothing. Negatory.”

Don’t debate with fate: DeFrantz’s rowing career “had to be fate,” she said. It began relatively late in life, at age 19, in her sophomore year at Connecticut College. DeFrantz, broad-shouldered and nearly 6 feet tall, was striding across campus when the rowing coach rushed over to recruit her for the team. “I loved the idea that you weren’t doing harm to anybody,” DeFrantz said. “Your ego is the only part of you that can get hurt.”

A legal turn: After graduating from Connecticut College with a degree in political philosophy in 1974, she attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School as she trained for the 1976 Olympics. DeFrantz said she realized “my rights as a citizen had been either stomped on through law or had been protected through law. That, to me, made it worth pursuing as a career, learning the language of power.” Her focus on public interest law led her to a job at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, where she worked for nearly three years.

One more Olympics: “I decided I wanted no regrets” about making one more attempt at Olympic gold, she said. DeFrantz got a job as a pre-law advisor at Princeton University while she trained. But it was a race she couldn’t win. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, setting in motion a series of American responses that culminated in President Carter deciding that the U.S. would boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

A different medal: DeFrantz was at the forefront of the fight to change Carter’s mind, thinking “you cannot take from me my right to compete.” DeFrantz even filed suit against the U.S. Olympic Committee on behalf of herself and 25 other U.S. athletes, arguing that the committee had exceeded its authority and violated the athletes’ constitutional rights. For her leadership role in opposing the boycott, DeFrantz eventually was awarded an IOC Bronze Medal of the Olympic Order.

A new Olympic dream: In 1981, DeFrantz was approached by Peter V. Ueberroth, who offered her a job with the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. Unsure at first, she said, “I finally realized he wasn’t just being nice to me because of what happened in 1980.” Within 10 minutes of her arrival, she said, “I realized Los Angeles was a place where I felt completely comfortable.” DeFrantz was one of the committee’s core employees and organized housing for the athletes.

The value of sports: “We overlook it as something children do. As adults, we view it as entertainment. But there is an intrinsic value to sport, not only in teaching teamwork,” DeFrantz said. “It’s important for our nation. It teaches a lot about our abilities to be an agent of success.”

Old school influences: Aside from her parents, “my great grandmother on my mother’s side was a very strong woman. She once told me that I could be anything I wanted to be,” DeFrantz said. Harriet Tubman was another role model. “The fact that she got herself out of slavery and then went back and helped another 300 people escape to freedom. She was someone who gave back her whole life to her community.”

Letters: Sports for all — women included

As John McEnroe famously said, “You cannot be serious.” A study of 19 subjects concluded that women watch sports merely as a way to connect with their husbands? Oh, those poor passive dears with no control of the remote and nothing better to do.

I’ll have to run this by my friend Kim, with whom I owned season tickets to the Kings for seven years and who got up at the crack of dawn to watch the finals of Wimbledon. Or Mary, whose Sunday worship of the Packers rivals my own for the Patriots. My morning Tour de France ritual is of scant interest to my husband, but we did watch golf all afternoon last Sunday — and he didn’t have to talk me into it.

O.C. veterans propose cemetery on former Marine base

When American Legion Chaplain Bill Cook peered through the chain-link fence at the windswept landscape — a broken runway, scrubby fields and green foothills in the distance — he remembered the Phantoms.

The fighter jets were once a regular sight, slicing through the air over what was for decades a bustling military base.

“The jets would just roar,” he said on a recent afternoon at the old U.S. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.

Now the Vietnam veteran is leading the charge to transform a small piece of that land into a final resting place for Orange County’s veterans.

Cook and others have been pushing for a veterans cemetery here since El Toro closed in 1999, but the idea is finally gathering steam as the old base is transformed into a sprawling park and neighborhoods of new homes.

The proposal has gained the support of legislators, county supervisors, city officials and veterans groups, though some have worried about a sustainable funding source.

But the most daunting hurdle may well be placing a cemetery next to planned tracts of homes that are being marketed to Asians.

The developer who is building the thousands of homes on the rim of the Orange County Great Park has consulted a feng shui master to review the names of streets, the bends in the roadways and the design of the homes to ensure a proper flow of energy.

In a city that is already 40% Asian, it is expected that the new homes — many which will hit the market with listing prices over $1 million — will be sold to buyers arriving from Asia.

In the early 1940s, when the base was teeming with soldiers training for war, the airfield was isolated among vast orange and avocado groves.

But as the high-end suburbs of South County fanned out, the base became hemmed in by tract homes, schools and shopping centers. The Marines finally left in 1999.

What they left behind was an enormous stretch of land, about 4,600 acres dotted with abandoned barracks and hangars and crisscrossed with runways. The transformation into parkland, sports fields and homes follows years of legal disputes and political wrangling.

Bill Sandlin, a member of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Committee, believes there’s still room here for those who served their country.

“I want to do all I can to make sure this place maintains some of its Marine identity,” said Sandlin, who transported Marines headed for the brig between the base and Camp Pendleton in the early 1960s

Local veterans say the former base would be the perfect site for a much-needed military cemetery in a region with a growing — and aging — population of veterans.

The sprawling Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood has been closed to new burials for about 20 years, and the Riverside National Cemetery is miles from Orange and Los Angeles counties, far more populated areas.

Stephen Jorgensen, who oversees memorials and cemeteries for the California Department of Veterans Affairs, estimated that about 14,000 veterans die every year in Orange and Los Angeles counties. The Riverside cemetery, which Jorgensen ran for more than a decade, handles about 8,000 burials each year.

“I know we didn’t serve a lot of people out of those two counties, even though Riverside is the most active veterans cemetery in the country,” Jorgensen said.

In January, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) introduced a bill that would ask the federal Department of Veterans Affairs for a grant to create a state-run Southern California Veterans Cemetery in Orange County.

While the state would have to pay for its operation and upkeep, the federal government would be asked to come through with a grant for its construction.

In Irvine, where the retired base is located, the council has endorsed the idea and formed a committee charged with finding space in the park for a cemetery.

And if an Orange County state veterans cemetery becomes a reality, Jorgensen said, it could end up being the busiest in the country.


But all that could collide with Emile Haddad’s vision for the Orange County Great Park and the areas surrounding it.

Haddad, president and chief executive of FivePoint Communities, sees neighborhoods of houses with shaded front porches, big, grassy backyards and easy access to the sports fields and tennis courts at the Great Park — a walkable community that harks back to a kind of “Dennis the Menace” era, he says.

FivePoint’s plan for the park itself, which the company agreed to help the city develop, includes vast amounts of parkland, including trails, a golf course, a wildlife corridor and a sports complex that would be twice the size of Disneyland.

What it does not include is a cemetery.

Haddad stressed that, in the end, the decision about whether to pursue a veterans cemetery in the park is the city’s.

“The land is not my land,” Haddad said.

Still, he said, it’s his job to make homes in FivePoint neighborhoods appealing to the people who want to buy them. And that market in Irvine is now dominated by Asian buyers.

Pavilion Park, one of the new neighborhoods, features multigenerational homes, with in-law units and side entrances.

While FivePoints declined to have its feng shui consultant speak with a reporter, Simona Mainini, a Beverly Hills-based feng shui master, said having a cemetery in the park could definitely lead to an “exponential” drop in property values.

“The bigger the cemetery, the farther away it should be from the residential area,” she said.

Haddad said FivePoint had “been extremely respectful of people who served on this base.”

Trees from the base were boxed to be replanted, and a veterans memorial on the grounds is in the works.

Veterans, though, see an allotment of the space as a small price to pay to honor those who left from El Toro and never came back.