Two new major naming rights deals were announced this week here in the Bay Area, each of which could create a ripple effect of other deals here and elsewhere. Each involved a financially challenged civic property whose naming sponsorships provide much-needed funding following major renovations of the venues. However, each deal was quite different in its scope, inspiration and visibility.
The two deals to which I am referring are:
- City National Bank’s naming of the old San Jose Auditorium – now the City National Civic. The deal was announced this week in San Jose with a value of $1.2 million (gross) over a five year term.
- Kabam’s naming of the football field at Cal’s Memorial Stadium – now Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium, announced yesterday by Cal and Kabam execs. The terms of the deal are $18 million over 15 years, plus additional scholarship funding.
The impact of these deals should be very positive for other public or semi-public venues with naming or other major sponsorship opportunities available including the Masonic Nob Hill Auditorium in San Francisco, a jewel of a building that provides a high value naming platform; and a presenting level sponsorship position for the Santa Clara Convention Center, which happens to be a block from the 49ers new Levi’s Stadium. We’ll have more on each of these platforms later.
Taking it one deal at a time, the City National deal was very interesting for these reasons:
- It follows another naming deal City National did in SoCal in 2011, the City National Grove of Anaheim. Evidently they saw good results from the first naming and know how to use such a sponsorship to generate a return.
- The Civic (as most people will likely refer to it) has been renovated, so the company is not just attaching its name to an old building but an upgraded one that is poised for a solid run of more and better events.
- The building is older and the events it hosts are an eclectic mix of concerts, family shows and private events, so it attracts a diverse array of audiences.
- The location and connection to City government are of value to City National – having a named venue in such a strategically important spot carries high value for a financial services firm that is trying to stand out and compete with bigger companies in the space.
This deal portends well for the Masonic opportunity given some similarities and some differences that favor San Francisco’s historic Nob Hill theater. Live Nation now operates the theater and is undertaking significant renovations to modernize the building. This is the natural time to market a naming position and to make such a name change, as it is more likely to be accepted by the public and to be of greater value to the investing company.
Part 2 on Monday will explore the Cal Kabam deal and support the concept of how a second tier sponsorship can be positioned as the equivalent of a venue naming deal – if handled correctly and thoughtfully by all involved.