SBJ/20090518/This Week's News

Premier to market Oakland stadium name

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Premier Partnerships has won an agency shootout to sell naming rights for the Oakland Coliseum, which reverted back to its original name last fall after a 10-year deal with Network Associates expired.

The stadium opened in 1966 and is one of the last sports venues to house both MLB and NFL franchises. Others include the recently rechristened LandShark Stadium in Miami, home to the Florida Marlins and Miami Dolphins, and the Metrodome, which is shared by the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins.

“We were impressed with their energy, creativity and methodology, which is what it will take to sell naming rights in a recession,” said Deena McClain, interim executive director of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority.

Network Associates originally bought naming rights to the stadium in 1998, transferring those rights to McAfee when the company changed its name in 2004.

That deal expired last September, and while the McAfee name is still widely used, officially the stadium is now the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the same venue name wherein the A’s won three World Series titles from 1972 to 1974, and the Raiders won the AFL Championship in 1967. The stadium houses about 100 events a year.

Jeff Marks, who will head the project for Premier, said that under the former deal, Network Associates was paying about $1.3 million a year to the city/county Coliseum Commission for naming rights and an additional $600,000 to $700,000 for concomitant sponsorships with the A’s and Raiders. Premier’s asking price will be “somewhat above that,” Marks said.

While the Raiders and the coliseum have years of protracted and contentious litigation in their past, both sides now say there is a new spirit of cooperation that should help sell the naming rights in what is a stagnant market.

“We resolved our dispute, and since that time we have a cooperative and productive working relationship,” said Raiders CEO Amy Trask. “So we are excited about it and presenting together to potential naming-rights partners.”

Recent efforts to build new venues for the Raiders and A’s have been unsuccessful, so it appears that the teams will be in the stadium for an indefinite period. However, given the uncertainty, Premier is looking for a minimum five-year deal, with “outs” should one or both of the teams move.

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