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New Jersey-based High Point Solutions "has entered into a 10-year naming rights deal for Rutgers Stadium, with a press conference set" for today to officially announce the partnership, according to Tom Luicci of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. HPS, an Internet hardware supplier, "will start by paying Rutgers $650,000 annually for the naming rights in an agreement that includes escalating financial clauses that could raise the deal" closer to $1M per year. Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and IMG College brokered the deal on behalf of Rutgers. HPS also has naming rights to Qunnipiac Univ.'s on-campus arena, and is an IT partner of Barclays Center (NJ.com, 6/20). In Newark, Vorkunov & Luicci report it "took only one meeting" between HPS and Rutgers officials in March "to reach a deal in principle" that will rename the venue High Point Solutions Stadium. Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti said, "We feel really, really good about it, not only given the climate but also because we were being picky about a partner." HPS co-Founder Mike Mendiburu: "This is our first football sponsorship and our first stadium. I think it’s a win-win. It’s a win for New Jersey, it’s a win for Rutgers, it’s a win for High Point." Vorkunov & Luicci note the "name of the game for Rutgers has become financial independence for its athletic department." During the '08-09 school year, Rutgers' athletic revenue "was $159,641 more than its expenses." Still, Pernetti said, "I don’t feel like we have an expense problem; we have a revenue problem" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/21). More Pernetti: "Based on our expectations, I think we ended up in a good place" (MYCENTRALJERSEY.com, 6/20). CBSSPORTS.com's Chip Patterson wrote the deal "would be considered a win for Pernetti" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/20).
Nassau County Exec Edward Mangano and Islanders Owner Charles Wang have “reached a tentative agreement that could give Wang control of the entire 77-acre parcel of county-owned land surrounding Nassau Coliseum,” according to sources cited by Randi Marshall of NEWSDAY. Two members of the Hub Advisory Committee, which was charged by Mangano to "offer options for the project," said that Wang would get the site “exclusively for a new hockey arena and surface parking -- far less expensive to build than a garage or underground parking -- and no other development.” But they added that terms of the deal “might still change because of objections to its lack of mixed-use.” Nassau County sources said that “future mixed-use development may be possible, subject to a request for proposals process that would be opened to developers other than Wang.” But they added that any additional development “would have to replace the parking spaces on which it would sit.” In exchange for use of the land, Wang would “provide a percentage of Coliseum revenue” to the county, and sources confirmed that the deal “includes a minimum annual payment.” The county has not released details on the size of the payment, but has “promised to do so in mid-June.” Hub committee members “expressed concern that the deal might result in a new arena and a parking lot -- and nothing else.” Local business leaders also "expressed concern" about the plan. The county has scheduled an Aug. 1 referendum “to determine whether to borrow as much as $400 million to build a new Coliseum and a minor league ballpark.” Sources said that a central issue is “the cost of garage or underground parking.” Structured parking lots “cost $25,000 per space.” The Coliseum area “houses almost 7,000 outdoor parking spaces, adding up” to a $175M price tag (NEWSDAY, 6/21).
Seattle's Qwest Field officially has a new name -- CenturyLink Field -- and a news conference “to unveil the new logo will be held Thursday,” according to Bob Condotta of the SEATTLE TIMES. The anticipated name change follows CenturyLink's acquisition of Qwest in April. Qwest purchased the naming rights to the stadium, home to the Seahawks and MLS Sounders, in ’04 “in a sponsorship deal that runs through 2014 with a five-year renewal option, reportedly paying an estimated $75 million.” Condotta notes the fact that the deal could expire in three years “means there’s no guarantee the new name will last for long.” CenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications company in the U.S., began “making changes in sponsorship items at Qwest in April” during Sounders games. In addition to the stadium, Seattle's events center “will be known as CenturyLink Field Event Center” (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/21).
TAKE IT TO THE BANK: In Raleigh, Chip Alexander reported a new name “could be coming” for RBC Center. With PNC Financial “confirming its plans to buy RBC Bank, PNC will be picking up the naming-rights agreement for the arena," home to the Hurricanes since it opened in '99. PNC CEO James Rohr yesterday said that the bank is “looking at putting its own name on the arena after the acquisition is completed,” targeted for March ’12. Alexander noted Raleigh's Centennial Authority “has final approval on any name change.” RBC signed a 20-year, $80M deal to acquire naming rights to the arena in '02. PNC already owns naming rights to the Pirates' PNC Park in Pittsburgh, as well as PNC Field outside of Scranton, Pa., home to the Triple-A Int'l League Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NEWSOBSERVER.com, 6/20). Also in Raleigh, Chris Baysden reported “no decision has been made on when any change will occur, or what” RBC Center’s new name might be. PNC VP/Corporate Communications Fred Solomon: "It’s too early" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/20). Meanwhile, The Heritage officials yesterday said that RBC's title sponsorship of the PGA Tour event will not be impacted.
TCU's 81-year-old football stadium is “halfway through an extreme makeover,” with renovations continuing this summer, according to Stefan Stevenson of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The renovations are “on schedule as a crew and staff of nearly 400 work six days a week, 12 hours a day to have the stadium’s lower bowl ready” for TCU's home opener against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 17. The upper deck of the west-side grandstands has already “begun to take shape,” and at first glance, “it is impressive how close the upper deck appears to the field, offering fans a great vantage point.” Austin Commercial Senior Project Manager Craig Martin said that the shape of the entire upper deck “will be complete by the end of August, but it won’t be ready for fans” until ’12. The $105M renovations “for the 40- to 45,000-seat stadium are scheduled to be completed” before the start of the ’12 season, and TCU AD Chris Del Conte hopes that he can soon announce “plans to include the east-side grandstands in the renovations.” The original renovation plans, “which addressed the west side and north side of the stadium, were funded by private donations, including six ‘founders’ who each donated $15 million.” But after fundraising “exceeded $105 million,” TCU made plans “to include the east side.” One of the founders “likely made it a done deal by donating an additional $10 million last week, raising the total to $143 million.” The main concern for Martin and the construction team is “having the lower bowl operational for the start” of the ’11 season. As expected, “none of the suites, clubs or permanent concessions will be ready on the west side this season,” but Martin expects the lower-bowl seating “to be ready.” Del Conte has “tried to allay worries from fans about seat relocations and lack of stadium parking” for the ’11 season. He said, “The following year we’re going to have something that is truly the jewel of college athletics when it’s all said and done” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/19).
COLLEGE STATION TRANSFORMATION: In Houston, Richard Justice notes Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne is “leading a transformation of sports” at the school that includes a $50M renovation to Kyle Field and “an outdoor track facility.” Since arriving on campus in ’03, Byrne “has raised $150 million to construct an array of new facilities, including an indoor football practice facility and a basketball practice facility.” Byrne said, “We’re catching up, but we have a ways to go. We’ll have a new baseball facility by next season. When we finish those projects, we can be one of the premier programs in the country” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/21).