Top naming-rights deals
When SBJ launched in 1998, 45 big-league venues were called by a corporate name. Today, 114 such deals are in play.
RCA, TransWorld, CoreStates, Allegheny Energy and Fleet — brands that no longer exist — had naming-rights deals at our launch. Within our first few months, we saw the volatility of the genre: First Union replaced CoreStates in Philadelphia, and National Car Rental Center became the first of what has now been four corporate names on the Florida Panthers arena.
In fact, of the 15 big-league naming-rights deals that were announced during our first year, only five remain intact. And this list will change again soon. Apollo Education Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, announced that it would end its naming-rights deal with the Arizona Cardinals, but had not done so as of press time. Additionally, Philips is not expected to renew its deal in Atlanta after it expires next summer.
The following deals would have made the list, if they had ever actually happened.
• In February 2011, Farmers Insurance Group announced it had signed a 30-year, $700 million naming-rights deal for a proposed NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, with the stadium to be called Farmers Field. The deal was potentially worth $1 billion if two NFL teams relocated to Farmers Field. AEG, the stadium’s developer, scuttled the plan in 2015.
• As an incentive to prevent the St. Louis Rams from moving to the West Coast, in October 2015 National Car Rental announced a 20-year, $158 million deal to affix its name to a proposed new stadium in St. Louis. The Rams opted for California, where they are building a new stadium in Inglewood.
– Compiled by David Broughton