SBD/June 22, 2011/Facilities

Naming-Rights Deal Marks A Change For Rutgers, Opportunity For High Point

High Point will pay $6.5M over next 10 years to name Rutgers' football stadium

High Point Solutions and Rutgers Univ. yesterday formally announced their 10-year, $6.5M naming-rights agreement for the school's football stadium, and for a "program that proudly declares itself as the birthplace of college football, giving up the naming rights to Rutgers Stadium was a bold step," according to Tom Luicci of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. By agreeing to the sponsorship, Rutgers "lost a little piece of its football history," something that AD Tim Pernetti "doesn't dismiss easily." Pernetti said, "Whenever you do something like this, you run into traditionalists. Tradition is what’s great about college sports. At the same time, the business is evolving. We have all of these great pieces of real estate that we haven’t maximized." Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano said, "I have no issue with leveraging this asset, this stadium, to create revenue." Pernetti noted that the deal "includes escalating clauses near the end that can raise the value $50,000 annually." Combined with Audi’s sponsorship of the stadium club, Rutgers "has generated $1 million in additional revenue in the past year, with all of it earmarked for football" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/22). Pernetti said, "There is a master plan on naming. But we’re not done. There’s pieces of Rutgers Stadium, parking lots on the outside, there’s the RAC, there’s other athletic facilities. It is all part of a bigger plan." He said the Rutgers Athletic Center has the "highest probability of being the next thing” branded with corporate sponsorship (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/22). Schiano said, "In these really challenging times financially, we have to be aggressive to find new revenue streams, and I think Tim and his administration is doing a great job of that” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/22).

CAN YOU TAKE ME HIGHER? High Point Solutions President Mike Mendiburu admitted that his New Jersey-based Internet hardware supplier "was largely unknown until news broke" yesterday about High Point Solutions Stadium. Mendiburu said, "High Point’s not exactly a household name. When we started High Point, we really had none of this in mind." The Marketing Arm Managing Dir Bill Glenn said, "For companies like High Point, marketing with the NFL or NBA might not be financially feasible. They took a regional approach and named Rutgers Stadium where they’ll get national exposure on ESPN, but generally speaking, they’ll have a more affordable deal." In Newark, Stacy Jones notes High Point works with the Nets as an IT consultant, and negotiations about the Rutgers deal began after High Point co-Founder Tom Mendiburu, "in London with the Nets at the time, was approached by Brooklyn Sports CEO Brett Yormark." Rutgers hired Brooklyn Sports and IMG last year to find a naming-rights partner (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/22).

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