CenturyLink Renews Naming-Rights Deal For Seahawks Stadium Through '33
The Seahawks, parent firm First & Goal and CenturyLink have agreed to extend the telecom firm’s naming rights at the Seattle stadium. The renewal for CenturyLink Field starts at the beginning of '19 and runs through the '33 season, team officials said. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal is pending approval by the Public Stadium Authority, the stadium’s owner. Under the current agreement, which expires at the end of the '18 season, CenturyLink pays $5M annually for naming rights. The original deal dates to '04, when the stadium was called Qwest Field. It was renamed CenturyLink Field in '11 after CenturyLink acquired Qwest Communications. The process was easy for renewing the deal and took about four months to complete after initial discussions started in December, according to CenturyLink Dir of Corporate Sponsorships Rich Karlis. Seahawks COO Chuck Arnold and VP/Corporate Partnerships & Suites Amy Sprangers represented the team in negotiations. Despite published reports stating that Louisiana-based CenturyLink was not going to extend the agreement, Karlis said there were never any discussions among company leaders about ending the partnership. “Once we sat down and heard the initial presentation from the team, (both parties) knew we were in the ranges we would like to be,” Karlis said. “They did their homework. Everybody agreed we were close (on terms) and we got to a deal quickly. Both sides feel strong about where we landed.” Sales agency Tigris, founded by Matt Yonan who worked for the old Bonham Group in Denver, supported CenturyLink with data research on NFL naming rights deals in other markets, Karlis said.
ALREADY AN ICONIC STADIUM: As part of the negotiations, CenturyLink officials recognized the strong branding presence at one of the most intimidating stadiums in the NFL and MLS, which typically sells out for both Seahawks and Sounders games. In that respect, it has become an iconic facility in the 15 years since it opened, Karlis said. “Everybody I talk to says they have to attend a game at CenturyLink Field,” he said. “The addition of the Sounders (in '09) makes the deal even stronger. They average about 43,000 attendance.” The renewal extends to CenturyLink Field Event Center, a multi-purpose space attached to the stadium, and combined with the stadium itself, the two venues draw more than 2.4 million attendees annually. Apart from those two buildings, the deal calls for CenturyLink to continue receiving brand exposure and hospitality at the Museum of Pop Culture, the Seattle attraction founded and built by Seahawks Owner Paul Allen. CenturyLink also will continue sponsoring Seahawks community outreach programs, including high school athlete of the week and Spirit of 12 Partners, which has raised about $4M for local charities over the past 13 years.