LA Coliseum Naming Rights Are Uncharted Waters In College Football


USC’s reported decision to shop naming rights for the LA Coliseum would have the university wading into uncharted waters regarding corporate naming rights in college football.

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Naming rights are common place in professional sports.

In 2013, when the New York Times broke down the value of naming rights deals of the NFL, NBA and MLB, three-fourths of the stadiums in those leagues had corporate sponsorship.

Those sponsorship rights ranged from Coors’ $1.1 million per year deal with the Colorado Rockies to the monstrous $21 million per year Citigroup pays the New York Mets for their stadium to be called Citi Field.

Last month the Tennessee Titans announced a naming rights deal with Nissan for the stadium formerly known as LP Field worth an estimated $100 million over 20 years, or $5 million per year.

The vast majority of college football stadiums stand without corporate naming rights.

Given the wide ranges of naming rights deals across pro stadiums around the country, sorting out the value of a potential deal for the Coliseum is quite difficult.

Factor in the relative lack of such deals in college football in general and inconsistent local naming rights deals and the task seems impossible.

The vast majority of college football stadiums stand without corporate naming rights. In fact, the number of stadiums with name deals is less than that of any Top 25 poll.

Though Arizona State announced in 2014 that they were pursuing a naming rights partner for Sun Devil Stadium, no Pac-12 venue has a deal in place.

Technically, Cal did sell naming rights to the field at Memorial Stadium to Kabam in 2013 for $18 million over 15 years, or $1.2 million per year. However, that partnership did not change the name of the stadium itself, only the field, which is officially known as “Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium.”

That deal is worth as much as’s deal with the Oakland Raiders for the Coliseum.

It is also on the higher end for current naming rights deals which exist in college football.

The annual average for college football stadium deals is $823,193, according to However, Cal’s deal suggests there is a much greater market to be explored.

Feb 11, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of the Staples Center exterior before the NBA game between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In Los Angeles, the picture is murky.

Neither the Dodgers nor the Angels have sold naming rights for their stadiums.

STAPLES had a $120 million deal with AEG to hold the naming rights over LA’s basketball venue for 20 years, which was expanded to a lifetime partnership in 2009. The New York Times valued that deal at $7.4 million per year.

In 2013, AEG also oversaw the naming rights deal for the StubHub Center in Carson. Though financial terms have not been released, the deal is at least greater than the $7 million per year that Home Depot paid for a decade. It has been estimated in the area of $10 million annually.

It was also AEG who secured a lucrative naming rights deal in 2011 for the proposed NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, which was valued at between $600 and $700 million over 30 years, or a whopping $20 million annually, before the plan was abandoned earlier this year.

At this point we do not even know if the Coliseum itself will take on a full naming partner.

Joe Furin, the Coliseum’s general manager, told ESPN that the name “Memorial Coliseum” will remain untouched while Dan Shell, the VP and general manager of college sports properties at FOX Sports, hinted to the OC Register that field-naming rights — similar to Cal’s — were the more likely scenario.

Either way, USC is looking at a significant chunk of money.

The school’s intention to bid for hosting an NFL team could increase that claim, with Sunday exposure on tap as well. Though there is a chance a professional team in LA will come and go before any deal is reached with a sponsor.

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Experts at the Sports Business Journal estimated that the Coliseum could draw between $3 million to $7 million a year.

On the one hand, that is a significant increase over even the most lucrative naming rights deals currently in place in college football. Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium brings in just $1.4 million per year by comparison.

On the other hand, that is less than StubHub pays for its rights deal at the far less historic and visible stadium in Carson.

For field-naming rights, the price could be right. Especially when JetBlue Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, though a mouthful, would not mar the historic name of the actual stadium.

If Saturday games at the State Farm, Coca-Cola or Vizio Memorial Coliseum are to become a reality however, that price would surely rise.