Private lending company SoFi has "acquired naming rights" for the $5.2B NFL stadium in Inglewood, according to sources cited by Don Muret of VENUES NOW. Sources said that terms of the deal are "believed to be in the range" of $20M per year over 20 years. That annual value would be "on par with the naming-rights agreement for MetLife Stadium." Sources also said that the deal was "signed two weeks ago," though it is "not known what the exact name of the stadium will be." Sources added that the price of the deal is lower than the $35-40M per year the district "proposed when it initially went to market with the naming rights." SoFi "already has a presence in sports marketing," after last year signing a multiyear deal to be presenting sponsor of the Big Ten's men's basketball tournament. The firm has also "sponsored the Pac-12 Conference men's basketball tournament and the Winter X Games," as well as this year's NBA Playoffs (VENUESNOW.com, 5/29). FOXBUSINESS.com's Gasparino & Moynihan report the deal "would be a coup" for SoFi CEO Anthony Noto, who spent three years as NFL CFO. Sources said that the deal "is not complete," though talks are "considered to be in the late stages." The negotiations "largely involve" Noto, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Rams Owner Stan Kroenke (FOXBUSINESS.com, 5/29). Legends is negotiating sponsorship, including naming rights, on behalf of the L.A. Stadium & Entertainment District (THE DAILY).
The Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Council is considering whether to issue $40M in bonds to reimburse the Cavaliers for "repairs the county is required to cover under the team’s lease agreement on Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse," according to Courtney Astolfi of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Another measure under consideration would refinance $40M of the $60M in bonds sold by the county in '15 as an "advance on revenues from the county’s so-called sin tax." The money set aside for repairs at the venue "has been used up, and the Cavs have been using their own money to pay for major capital repairs up to $500,000, which the county is required to fund under the lease." The sin tax on alcohol and tobacco sales generates about $7.5M per year per team, and the "cost of repairs over the last four years alone has far outpaced that average income." Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse CEO Len Komoroski said that the lease "does not speak to how the county money generates that money." He added that the "expectation is that the county and the Cavs will continue to meet their lease obligations." Meanwhile, the Indians paid for about $7.5M in Progressive Field repairs beyond their initial $37M. The Indians have "not asked for reimbursement" for that $7.5M, so they will "not receive money from the proposed bond issue" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/29).
Vanderbilt AD Malcolm Turner announced a "series of facility renovations" for the school's athletics programs, including at Vanderbilt Stadium, Memorial Gym and Hawkins Field, according to Adam Sparks of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. At Vanderbilt Stadium, which has "not undergone a major renovation" since '81, the south end zone videoboard will be "removed, and the videoboard in the north end zone will be replaced." Renovations to the stadium's restrooms also will begin soon as part of a "series of enhancements to address fan complaints about the poor game-day experience." Turner said that the school is in the "final stages of selecting a firm to help develop a master athletics facilities plan." He added that he and football coach Derek Mason are "planning renovations to the football locker room and team facilities besides the stadium." This offseason, Hawkins Field will receive a "new artificial turf playing surface and upgrades to the scoreboard." Meanwhile, Memorial Gym will get "new state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems." Turner said that renovations are also "planned for the basketball locker rooms" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/29).
National Assembly of Quebec Minister of Tourism Caroline Proulx said that the future of the Montreal's Olympic Stadium will be "even brighter because a new roof" is "on the drawing table" as the venue approaches its 50th anniversary of opening, according to Philip Authier of the MONTREAL GAZETTE. The objective is to "have the old roof replaced" by '24, ahead of the '26 World Cup. Proulx said, "It is mandatory to change the roof. We will change the roof. The business plan will be tabled in the next few months." Proulx "would not respond to questions about costs or whether the new roof would be retractable." Previous estimates had "pegged the cost of the roof at somewhere between" C$200-300M. Proulx said that the "thought of shuttering or tearing down the stadium ... did not even enter her mind." In fact, the legislation she tabled is "designed to give the stadium more latitude to operate as a business to chase more and bigger events" under its "new name," Olympic Park. The venue is "currently in use 200 days of the year," and the new branding will "market the entire site, including the popular tower plus attractions like the Biodome and Saputo Stadium" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 5/29).
In Cincinnati, Wartman & Coolidge note city and Hamilton County leaders "didn't seem any closer" yesterday to giving FC Cincinnati the full $35M they "promised the team for its new stadium's infrastructure needs." Hamilton County Administrator Jeff Aluotto will "meet again with Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley sometime in the next two days." The Hamilton County Convention Facilities Authority will "need to approve" the use of about $17M from the city's portion of the local hotel tax to use toward the $35M in incentives (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/29).
CHECK IT OUT: MLS expansion club Austin FC has "started teasing an 'experience center'" that will involve a "physical model" of the teams new stadium. The plan is to have the center open this summer, likely at the team's offices. Visits will be by appointment only, and "won’t require a season ticket deposit beforehand" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/29).
ALL NATURAL: Officials at Estadio Azteca said that they will "convert the field back to natural turf after a failed attempt at a hybrid playing surface led to the cancellation" of the scheduled Rams-Chiefs "MNF" game last year. Stadium officials said that they will "use a break in Mexican soccer league play to put back in natural grass" (AP, 5/27).