UNC-Charlotte Football Stadium Named After Jerry Richardson Following $10M Donation
The Univ. of North Carolina-Charlotte's on-campus football stadium "will be called Jerry Richardson Stadium," as the NFL Panthers owner made a $10M "donation to the school in return for the naming rights in perpetuity," according to Jim Utter of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. It was the "largest single naming rights deal in the athletic department's history." Richardson said, "Nobody asked us to do this. Charlotte is our home (and) I think athletics plays a key role in any university or college experience." Richardson had "previously partnered with Charlotte banking industry pioneer Hugh McColl to name the stadium field, McColl-Richardson Field." The first game of the team's inaugural season will be played Aug. 31 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/12). In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted UNCC Chancellor Phil Dubois and AD Judy Rose said that Richardson "approached the school about making the donation." Since he had "earlier committed to the field naming rights, the school never entertained the idea of Richardson making another donation" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/11). A picture of Richardson holding up a No. 49 UNCC jersey was on the front page of today's Charlotte Observer (THE DAILY).
LESSONS LEARNED: In West Palm Beach, Hal Habib noted FAU AD Pat Chun said that the school has "no leads on a new sponsor" for the $70M football stadium, after the GEO Group in April withdrew plans for naming rights. Chun added that by the fall he hopes to "announce the creation of a bowl game at FAU." Although details are "to be worked out, he expects the bowl to have a tie-in to Conference USA, which FAU officially joins July 1." Chun: "I told our staff, 'In the long history of FAU, this'll be a small bump in the road and we've got to make sure that we learn our lessons from this and make it the best thing that ever happened to us.' It was unfortunate that we lost the gift, but we've got to learn lessons from it." He added, "The gift was vetted, any way you cut it" (PALM BEACH POST, 6/12).