Last year, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys unveiled their $1.1 billion state-of-the-art stadium. More than a year later, and less than three months until the Super Bowl, Jones still hasn’t sold the naming rights to his new toy.
So how much are Jones and the Cowboys losing without a naming partner?
To date, the two biggest deals for stadium naming rights have gone to Citi Field in Queens, home of the New York Mets and the Barclays centre in Brooklyn, the future home of the New Jersey Nets. Both deals are worth $400 million over 20 years ($20M per year).
But according to Eric Smallwood of Front Row Marketing Services, a company that negotiates naming rights for stadiums and arenas, better comparables would be other NFL stadiums. “Recent deals in the NFL are averaging $5-7 million,” said Smallwood. “The most recent would be the stadium in Miami (Sun Life Stadium). That was a renaming deal and [the Dolphins] got $37.5 million for five years.”
Smallwood suggested that the deal for Cowboys Stadium, knowing the Super Bowl is part of the package, would fetch $7-10 million per season. Which means, Jones has already lost as much as $15 million by not selling the naming rights yet.
And how much is the Super Bowl worth in these naming rights packages? Smallwood, whose firm tracks these valuations, says that the television coverage of last year’s Super Bowl and the weeks leading up to the big game was worth $35-40 million in publicity to Sun Life Financial.
So what is holding up a deal?
Certainly the economy isn’t helping. But it could also be that Jones is holding out for the right partner. A team like the Cowboys can’t play in a stadium named after the University of Phoenix or GoDaddy.com or Pink Taco.
More likely, Jones is holding out for a partner that garners the same level of respect that the Cowboys feel they deserve. How does “Nike Field” sound? But a globally recognised brand doesn’t need the same level of recognition and may not be willing to spend as much as a lesser-known company.
Still, there is hope for Jones and the Cowboys. The deal for Sun Life Stadium happened only weeks before the Super Bowl. But Jones must be careful. If a deal doesn’t get done before the Super Bowl, the value of the naming rights will plummet as it will be a while before the stadium hosts another Super Bowl.
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