SoFi Paying More Than $30M Annually For L.A. Stadium Rights
Online lender SoFi will pay more than $30M annually for the next 20 years to entitle the new NFL stadium under construction outside L.A., sources said, making it the largest deal in U.S. naming rights history. The partnership, formally unveiled yesterday, eclipses the previous NFL high-water mark of $20M annually at the Jets/Giants’ MetLife Stadium, and Chase’s $30M annual deal with MSG for extensive promotional rights that stop short of entitlement. Depending on exchange rates and precise terms, it may also eclipse Scotiabank’s C$40M deal in '17 to rename the Air Canada Centre. SoFi’s CEO is Anthony Noto, the NFL’s former CFO. The high valuation reflects the expected prominence of the $5B stadium complex due to open next summer. It will host both the Rams and Chargers, Super Bowl LVI, the ’23 CFP, the ’28 Summer Games' Opening and Closing Ceremony, and major concerts. SoFi’s name will be covered up during the Games under IOC rules, but dealmakers believe there is value in being known as the future home of the Olympics until then. The 70,000-seat stadium is designed to expand to up to 100,000. Eventually, it will anchor a 298-acre redevelopment of the former Hollywood Park horse racetrack about four miles west of LAX. Along with stadium rights, SoFi becomes a sponsor of both tenants, the Chargers and Rams, and will sponsor the adjacent performance venue. Legends Global Partnerships negotiated the deal for the L.A. Stadium & Entertainment District. SoFi handled its negotiations directly.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: CNBC.com's Kate Rooney noted it is "common for financial services companies to buy stadium naming rights," but it is "rare for a young, venture-capital-backed, private company to put its name on a major sports arena." SoFi will be the "only Silicon Valley start-up in the NFL stadium ranks." SoFi is "already well known in the financial technology world, but the new stadium deal will likely put it on the map as a mainstream brand." The AP's Greg Beacham wrote SoFi "bought the naming rights to reap extraordinary exposure from the world’s most prominent new stadium." Noto said, “It was something that really took a while for us to convince them that we were the right partner, and really gain the confidence that we could make that long-term commitment." With SoFi’s name out front, the entire complex will have a "prominent role in the future of the NFL" and the L.A. metroplex. The L.A. Times' Sam Farmer noted SoFi will have "branding on the roof of the stadium, and on the speaker system at the bottom of the 70,000-square foot oculus display, the ring-shaped video board that will be suspended from the ceiling."