SAN JOSE -- The Earthquakes are negotiating with three Fortune 100 companies to secure a lucrative naming rights deal for the new soccer stadium, club president Dave Kaval said.
The deal is one of the most important components to funding the $60-million project that is expected to be completed before the 2014 season.
Kaval said interest in naming rights took off after last week's announcement that the team would begin construction with a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 21. The proposed 18,000-seat stadium will be built on a vacant lot along Coleman Avenue across from Mineta San Jose International Airport.
Kaval declined to identify the companies but said some are involved in technology. The Earthquakes want to find a long-term partner, citing the successful model of HP Pavilion in San Jose. Kaval said it's important to avoid changing names often as happened at Candlestick Park. The stadium was called 3Com Park from 1995-2002 and then briefly Monster Park. It is now called Candlestick Park again.
Renaming a venerated facility such as Candlestick has proved more of a challenge than selling the rights to a new stadium. Putting company logos on sports facilities has a long history and is an accepted business practice in today's marketplace. Companies have found marketing and advertising value in connecting with sports facilities.
Naming-rights deals for sports facilities usually last 20- to 30-years and often are the difference betweenthe financial success and failure of the building, said Randy Bernstein, president and CEO of sports and entertainment company Premier Partnerships.
Bernstein, Major League Soccer's first chief marketing officer, said such deals give ownership a long-term revenue stream and help fund stadium upkeep.
A partner willing to help market the team beyond having logos on the building "adds even more benefit to the value of a naming rights agreement," Bernstein said Thursday. "Then you have the best of both worlds."
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.