With the recent naming upheavals impacting the 2022 NFL season, Stacker set out to bring into focus the picture of the naming rights landscape across all professional sports.

What’s in a name? How Naming Rights Deals Affect the Landscape of Professional Sports Venues

With the recent naming upheaval affecting the 2022 NFL season, Stucker has decided to draw attention to the naming rights pattern across all professional sports. – Cassiohabib // Shutterstock

Jared Beilby

What’s in a name? How Naming Rights Deals Affect the Landscape of Professional Sports Venues

On July 12, 2022, the Pittsburgh Steelers shocked the NFL world with the announcement that their home stadium, Heinz Field, would be renamed Acrysur Stadium.

Pittsburgh-based HJ Heinz, a 153-year-old company, has owned the naming rights to the stadium since the stadium replaced the carpeting and concrete at Three Rivers Stadium in 2001. the company is four years younger than the stadium itself. This decision drew a lot of criticism from locals online.

A few weeks later, the NFL received another push for the name when Pittsburgh’s division rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, announced they were rebranding their own stadium. This time, the ad erased the non-corporate-sponsored name — Paul Brown Stadium, named after the founder of the franchise — and replaced it with Paycor Stadium, after the HR software company. After the stadium was renamed Cincinnati, Soldier Field in Chicago and Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin remained the only two non-sponsored NFL venues.

Due to recent name changes that have impacted the 2022 NFL season, Stackeranalyzed the facts and figures behind the naming rights of 139 professional sports venues in six North American major leagues: MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL and WNBA. To do this, we created a dataset using stadium and league websites, match results and news articles.

Overall, the situation looks bleak for unsponsored venue names. Only one league – MLB – has more than three such stadiums. And several leagues could shrink to one (or even none) in the near future. Our full findings are ahead.

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Jared Beilby // Stacker

Only 12% of sports facilities do not have corporate names.

Between the six Major Leagues analyzed by Stucker, 17 stadiums remain unsponsored, totaling 12.2% of the total 139 stadiums examined.

Baseball, long associated with tradition, consists of eight stadiums with unsullied names. These diamond cathedrals include Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, as well as California’s Angels and Dodgers stadiums. The other four are Camden Yards in Baltimore, Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, Nationals Field in Washington, DC, and Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Outside of baseball, place names that are not sponsored may be considered an endangered species. In the NHL, Arizona State University’s Mullet Arena is the temporary home of the Arizona Coyotes until the franchise finds a long-term dig. The Florida Panthers’ FLA Live Arena in Miami bears this name only temporarily until a new sponsor is found.

In the WBNA, the owners of all three non-sponsored arenas have previously sought or approved the transfer of their title rights. In MLS, the BC Pavilion Corporation announced in 2019 that it intended to sell the naming rights to BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia. However, no immediate plans to change the names of the stadiums have been announced in any of the leagues.

There are also questions about the future of Soldier Field, one of the hallowed grounds of professional football. Last year, the Chicago Bears announced their desire to move from their current downtown area to the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, going so far as to sign an agreement to buy the former Arlington Park Racetrack property. However, MLS’s Chicago Fire will continue to play at Soldier Field for the foreseeable future, and it’s possible the stadium will become a football stadium if the Bears run away to a new home.

As many as seven stadiums are in constant flux, and only two non-baseball stadiums have escaped rebranding discussions: Lambo Field, home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, and Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks. in the NBA and the New York Rangers in the NHL.

Bar chart of sponsorship of sports facilities by industry.

Jared Beilby // Stacker

Financial companies dominate the stadium sponsorship sector

Nearly a third of the 122 sponsored venues in our analysis are named after financial companies, including banks, mortgage firms, and cryptocurrency exchanges. Companies in the industry sponsoring multiple venues include Chase Bank (Chase Center in San Francisco and Chase Field in Phoenix), PNC Bank (PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC, PNC Park in Pittsburgh and PNC Stadium in Houston), and Scotiabank (Scotiabank Arena in Toronto and Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta).

The second most popular industry is insurance, which includes companies offering health, life and auto insurance services. Popular venue-sponsored insurance brands include Nationwide (Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio), Progressive (Progressive Field in Ohio), and State Farm (State Farm Arena in Atlanta and State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona).

When looking at how industries are distributed across sports, finance is ubiquitous across all leagues. Insurance is primarily popular in the NFL with six stadiums and MLB with four. The third most common industry, automotive, appears most in the NHL and MLS, with five venues each.

Table of the most expensive sponsorship deals of sports facilities.

Jared Beilby // Stacker

Naming rights deals are big business

The reason why so many establishments sell title rights is simple – these deals can be extremely lucrative.

For example, Crypto.com Arena’s naming rights deal reportedly amounted to $700 million for 20 years when the cryptocurrency exchange company unveiled its name in the arena formerly known as the Staples Center. Crypto.com’s sponsorship is about six times the $116 million Staples reportedly signed up for in a 20-year deal in 1999.

The high price of Crypto.com Arena is probably not only due to the huge Los Angeles market. The location is also the only one in North America with more than two major league teams. Both city NBA teams play here, as well as the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL.

The Los Angeles area’s other premier sports venue and home to the NFL’s Rams and Chargers, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, was reportedly worth $625 million over 20 years in a 2019 deal. That works out to just over $31 million a year, which nearly covers the average annual salary for Rams defenseman Aaron Donald.

For companies, the advantage is not just a marketing gimmick. A longtime bearer of the NFL stadium name in Pittsburgh, Heinz managed to weave itself into the fabric of the NFL in a way that made fans upset when “Heinz” was dropped from the stadium’s name and the giant ketchup bottles were removed from the stadium. scoreboard.

Crypto.com, which stole the Staples Center name, drew similar outrage. Such strong and intuitive associations come as no shock when companies like Acrisure or Crypto.com rapidly become iconic names for years to come.

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