In the Big Ten Conference, which is home to three different football stadiums named Memorial Stadium, Rutgers’ football stadium is one of the exceptions among its peers.
That’s because its name is up for sale — or at least it was.
Effective July 18, 2019, Rutgers will play its home games at SHI Stadium — no longer High Point Solutions Stadium — after the university signed a contract with SHI International Corp. for the information technology products and services company to be the sole naming rights sponsor of the venue.
The two sides agreed to a five-year contract worth $7.25 million that runs through June 30, 2024 with an option for SHI International Corp. to extend the agreement by two years, which would be worth an additional $3.6 million, according to a copy of the contract obtained by Stadium.
Rutgers’ previous stadium naming rights deal with High Point Solutions, Inc. was an eight-year agreement worth $4.8 million that expired on June 30, 2019. Not including the potential two-year extension, Rutgers’ new deal will provide an average bump of more than $800,000 annually for the Scarlet Knights.
Under its previous naming rights deal, the university received $600,000 per year from High Point Solutions, Inc. — paid in quarterly $150,000 amounts — and the school will now receive more than $600k every six months from SHI International Corp.
In the fifth year of the new agreement, Rutgers will receive $1.65 million. If SHI International Corp. exercises its two-year option that extends through June 2026, the university will receive $1.85 million in the seventh year of the contract.
So while “High Point Solutions Stadium” didn’t necessarily roll off the tongue (and “SHI Stadium” has already taken the brunt of jokes on Twitter), Rutgers has monetized its football stadium to the tune of a million-plus dollars per year.
And for a Rutgers athletic department that reported a loss of more than $1.7 million for the 2018 fiscal year, according to its NCAA Financial Report, an improved stadium naming rights deal could be, well, a big deal.
Stadium compiled the database below, which lists the naming rights deals of many FBS schools that have sold the rights for their football field or stadium.
|Date Contract Signed||School||Conference Affiliation At Time Of Agreement||Sponsor||Contract Term||Contract Value||Avg. Value Per Season|
|May 16, 1996||Louisville||Conference USA||Papa John’s International, Inc./Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter||15 years||$5,000,000||$333,333|
|April 25, 2000||Texas Tech||Big 12||AT&T Operations, Inc.||26 years||$21,000,000||$807,692|
|March 24, 2005||Minnesota||Big Ten||TCF Financial Corporation||25 years||$35,000,000||$1,400,000|
|August 24, 2006||Maryland||ACC||Chevy Chase Bank, F.S.B.||26 years||$20,000,000||$740,740|
|April 5, 2007||Western Kentucky||FBS Independent||Houchens Industries, Inc.||___||$5,000,000||___|
|August 27, 2007||Louisville*||Big East||Papa John’s International, Inc./Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter||34 years||$10,000,000||$294,117|
|August 29, 2007||Akron||MAC||Gary and Karen Taylor (InfoCision)||20 years||$10,000,000||$500,000|
|November 10, 2008||Akron**||MAC||Summa Health||20 years||$5,000,000||$250,000|
|June 27, 2011||Rutgers||Big East||High Point Solutions, Inc.||8 years||$4,800,000||$600,000|
|August 12, 2011||North Texas||Sun Belt||Apogee Telecom, Inc.||20 years||$20,011,700||$1,000,585|
|December 1, 2013||California**||Pac-12||Kabam, Inc.ᵎ||15 years||$17,656,250||$1,177,083|
|May 19, 2014||Boise State||Mountain West||Albertsons LLC||15 years||$9,081,250||$605,416.67|
|August 1, 2014||Florida International**||Conference USA||Ocean Bank||3 years||$390,000||$130,000|
|April 11, 2015||Utah State||Mountain West||Maverik, Inc.||23 years||$6,300,000||$273,913.04|
|July 19, 2016||San Jose State||Mountain West||Citizens Equity First Credit Union||15 years||$8,683,056.40||$578,870.42|
|April 24, 2017||New Mexico||Mountain West||Dreamstyle Remodeling, Inc.||10 years||$9,000,000||$900,000|
|May 2, 2017||Kentucky||SEC||Kroger||12 years***||At least $22,200,000||$1,850,000+|
|July 18, 2019||Rutgers||Big Ten||SHI International Corp.****||5 years||$7,250,000||$1,450,000|
*Louisville removed “Papa John’s” from Cardinal Stadium’s name in the summer of 2018
**Contract for field naming rights
***Including potential extension
****Can exercise a two-year option worth $3.6 million
! Partnership ended in June of 2017
- The payment schedule from Maryland’s signed contract with Chevy Chase Bank that was obtained by Stadium was redacted, but an announcement from the school in 2006 said the deal was worth $20 million. While it’s unclear how much Maryland will receive each year of the deal, the university will receive more than $700,000 annually, on average, over the lifetime of the reported $20 million deal that spans 27 football seasons from Aug. 2006 to Dec. 2032.
- Kentucky’s deal with Kroger was made with the university’s media partner, JMI Sports, so the university’s athletic department doesn’t have a copy of the contract. The contract terms and approximate annual starting value of the contract are available from a university release.
- Stadium obtained a copy of Boise State’s contract with Albertsons, but it didn’t include the payment schedule for the naming rights. The Idaho Statesman reported it’s a $12.5 million deal that will send $9,081,250 to Boise State and the remainder of the money to Learfield, which has the school’s marketing rights.
- While Utah State’s deal with Maverik, Inc. is for 23 seasons from 2015 through 2037, the university will receive its $6.3 million in naming rights payments during the first 18 years, paid in quarterly $87,500 payments. So while Utah State will receive $350,000 annually for the first 18 years of the contract, the average annual value over the 23 years is closer to $273,000.
- North Texas’ deal with Apogee Telecom, Inc. includes two kinds of payment — sponsorship fees and in-kind services, so $11,802,418 of the $20,011,700 deal is from sponsorship fees, and just over $8.2 million will be provided in services. The university will receive more than $1.5 million in sponsorship fees and services in the final year of the 20-year contract.
Here’s a line graph showing how much 13 FBS schools, which play in various Power Five and Group of Five conferences, receive for their stadiums’ naming rights. Notice the unique payment schedule of Texas Tech ($10.5 million in 2000 then no further payments until seven years later) and Minnesota ($2 million upon execution of the contract, then a two-year dip before an increase to a 22-year plateau).
*The Idaho Statesman reported Boise State will receive $9,081,250 as part of its 15-year deal, which is an average of $605,416.67 annually
**A conservative estimate of Kentucky’s stadium naming rights, which the school announced starts at $1.85M annually
***Maryland redacted its payment schedule, but the school will receive $20M over 27 seasons, an average of $740,740 annually
Texas Tech’s deal with AT&T featured a unique payment schedule in which the university received $10.5 million (half of the total amount) upon the execution of the agreement in April 2000, then it didn’t receive any more payments for seven years.
AT&T paid Texas Tech $2.9 million on July 1 of 2007, 2008 and 2009, then $900,000 on July 1 in 2010 and 2011. Since AT&T’s initial $10.5 million payment to Texas Tech is much larger than any other single payment that any of the schools examined received, it skewed the graph’s scale.
So here’s a closer look at the Texas Tech-less line graph. We also ignored Western Kentucky’s one-time $5 million gift.
As mentioned earlier, notice how Rutgers’ new deal will lead to a significant jump in revenue from its stadium naming rights. Under its old deal, it was only receiving $100,000 more than Akron annually, while if SHI International Corp. chooses to extend the new contract for the full seven years, the university’s revenue from its stadium’s naming rights will be similar to that of Kentucky — an SEC school that’s coming off of its best season since 1977.
Some schools, like Akron, California and FIU, sell the naming rights for their field (e.g. Akron has Summa Field at InfoCision Stadium).
The following line graph shows how much these schools made, or will make, annually from recent deals for their football field’s naming rights.
*California originally signed a 15-year deal with Kabam, Inc. but the partnership ended in June 2017
Most college football stadiums, including many of the ones with the most history and tradition in the sport, are named after the home state/school (Michigan Stadium), the school’s mascot (Tiger Stadium) or a famous figure(s) in the school’s history (Bryant-Denny Stadium).
But if you’re a school that’s willing to embrace a corporate sponsor, the market says you can sign a seven or eight-figure deal for your football stadium’s naming rights that can yield upwards of $1 million annually.