The State Farm Center at Illinois.
Comcast Center at Maryland.
TCF Bank Stadium at Minnesota.
Not every school has the luxury - or the cash - to stick with a traditional or historic name for a venue. Ohio Stadium will never be anything but that. Would Iowa ever sell the rights to rename Kinnick Stadium? Never, especially if you consider that it is named for Nile Kinnick, the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner and the only Heisman winner in university history, who died in service during World War II. Ain't happening.
But Illinois and Maryland and Minnesota, along with any number of other schools, have sold the naming rights to their facilities. And it can be a very profitable action.
Illinois undertook a $165 million dollar renovation of Assembly Hall, and as part of that process, sold the rights to the building's name to Illinois-based State Farm Insurance. For $60 million. That's six-oh.
That's $2 million per year through 2042. Which did bother some Illini fans:
Sorry.by WhiteSpeedReceiver on Apr 29, 2013
While others thought, not so bad:
Just because nobody's willing to pay YOU for it.....by Apollo Forza on Apr 29, 2013
I'm with you, Apollo.
TCF Bank is putting $35 million (over 25 years) into the Gophers' coffers while Comcast is touting the Terps for $25 million (over 20 years). And for UMd, that's in addition to the $20 million they're getting from Capital One for football.
High Point Solutions Stadium, you ask? That was a $6.5 million deal. In total. For ten years, through 2021.
Now in fairness to Tim Pernetti, the AD at the time, I doubt too many people were knocking down the door to buy the naming rights to anything Rutgers. Although the hope was that the income would be twice that amount. Such was life in the Big East/AAC in 2011.
But, as we often say around here, winning solves everything. And the Houston Cougars found that out. The AAC team did a bit better than RU in selling its stadium naming rights, garnering $15 million over ten years from Texas Dow Employees Credit Union (TDECU), the largest credit union in Houston. Even UCF did pretty well with Bright House Networks Stadium: 15 years for $15 million.
Where are we going with all this? While we have over $55 million in the bank (or at least in pledges) for the R B1G Build, including several million-plus dollar gifts, we don't have - yet - anyone willing to step up to make that stupendous lead gift, the $10 million dollar game-changer. We want and need thousands of smaller gifts, those five-year pledges. But to me, getting over the hump may take either corporate help - as with the arenas noted above - or additional major gifts..
The idea of corporations ponying up to sponsor a facility at Rutgers isn't new. There have been more than a few comments on posts here at On the Banks about how the Johnson & Johnson name (headquarters in New Brunswick) and money would look great on a building or two on the athletic campuses. And most schools are leaning to naming facilities not in honor of someone but because someone gave the money. At Rutgers, both ideas were recently served by alumnus Richard Weeks. Weeks donated $6 million as the lead gift in the building of a new engineering building.
New Jersey does have its share of big firms besides J & J. Consider this sampling:
- ADP: Headquarters - Roseland, Revenue - $10.6 Billion
- BASF: Headquarters - Florham Park, Revenue - $17.4 Billion
- Becton Dickinson: Headquarters - East Rutherford, Revenue - $10.28 Billion
- Campbell Soup: Headquarters - Camden, Revenue - $7.7 Billion (BTW, Campbell's Field in Camden is named for the company and there are a few stories, one involving Rutgers, about the stadium. Campbell's paid $3 M for ten-year naming rights.)
- Celgene Corp.: Headquarters - Summit, Revenue - $6.5 Billion
- Church & Dwight: Headquarters - Ewing, Revenue - $3.4 Billion (don't recognize the name? Try Arm & Hammer Baking Soda)
- Honeywell: Headquarters - Morris Plains, Revenue - $38.58 Billion And I wonder if this has any impact on that possibility? It was parked outside the RAC a while back.
- Merck: Headquarters - Kenilworth, Revenue - $39.5 Billion
- Sharp USA: US Headquarters - Mahwah, Revenue - $28.7 Billion
- Telecordia: Part of Swedish Ericcson but US operations in - TA DA! - Piscataway, Revenue - $27.3 Billion (BTW, you may recall that the Carolina Panthers' stadium in Charlotte was once called Ericcson Stadium....yeah, same Ericcson. Just sayin'.)
- Chubb Ltd: Headquarters - Warren, Revenue - $13.9 Billion
- PSE & G: Headquarters - Newark, Revenue - $10.4 Billion (The President and CEO is Ralph Izzo, who received a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management and is a former Chair of the Rutgers University Board of Governors.)
And last but certainly not least, the big kahuna....
- Prudential Financial: Headquarters - Newark Revenue - $54.1 Billion
Could there be push back or even protests over certain companies becoming sponsors? This is Rutgers, of course there could be. But I refer you to a turn-of-the-20th Century story of corporate largesse - courtesy of the Rutgers Libraries - involving Rutgers. Some of you may recognize the name Ballantine as a brewery, once a dominant force in Newark and major sponsor of Yankees broadcasts. The owner of the brewery, Robert F. Ballantine, was also a Rutgers trustee, and in the 1890's he made a generous gift in order to construct a gym. The story goes that some within the college community didn't want to take tainted alcohol-related money. Wiser heads prevailed; again, as the story goes, college president Austin Scott (yes, Scott Hall) decided that Rutgers would accept the "dirty" money and make it clean. Hence, Ballantine Gymnasium. History is on our side.
Let's be very clear: Rutgers wants as many people as possible to contribute to the R B1G Build; they want those 10,000 donors taking ownership of this campaign. But you can't ignore the fact that there is a trend in college athletics, regardless of the level, of gaining large donations to finance major projects, whether athletic or academic. It's a fact of financial life that Rutgers needs to - but probably already does - understand.
Want to donate to R B1G Build? Click here.
Want to give to another area of the University? Click here.