How much are college athletic facility naming rights worth?

Last Updated on December 2, 2020

Brighthouse Networks Stadium at UCF (photo credit: Breezy Baldwin via Flickr)
Brighthouse Networks Stadium at UCF (photo credit: Breezy Baldwin via Flickr)

UPDATE: Boise State’s new naming rights deal with Albertsons was unintentionally omitted. It has been added, which has changed the average annual values in the original post.

What’s the market value for naming rights deals on college athletic facilities? It’s much more difficult to estimate than if we were talking about professional athletics. Universities often complete these deals at less than market rate in order to acknowledge past gifts by major donors.

For example, naming right for Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at University of Louisville is officially on the books as a $5 million donation for 52 years. In total, however, Papa John’s had donated approximately $22 million for the football stadium through 2011.  Would University of Louisville have agreed to a naming rights deal with a company it had never done business with previously for 52 years for $5 million? Not likely.

It’s not uncommon in these deals for past donations to be taken into account, causing the naming rights deal itself to be below market rate. That’s somewhat unique to college athletics thanks to its nonprofit status and history of relying upon donations.

We’ve recently updated our database for naming rights deals on college athletic facilities. Quite a few of the deals are for the life of the stadium or arena, and details of the deals aren’t always disclosed, especially when it involves a private university.

However, just for the sake of trying to pinpoint something approximating an average annual value, here are some average annual values based on what we do know:

  • Average annual value: $916,892.
  • Highest average annual value: $4 million for PNC Bank Arena, but keep in mind that revenue is split between NC State, the parent company of the Carolina Hurricanes and the owner of the arena.
  • Average annual value for football stadiums: $823,193.
  • Average annual value for basketball arenas: $988,508.

Please note, we did not include facilities owned by an outside entity, such as a city or professional team, unless the university is receiving a portion of the naming rights revenue. If we’re missing any deals, please let us know.

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  • Jake
    June 25, 2014

    Boise State’s new deal with Albertson’s:

  • Bob Markey II
    June 25, 2014

    Florida Atlantic University’s deal with GEO Group for a reported $6 million did not happen. Public pressure against FAU for inking a deal with the global prison (and other services) company, despite it being locally based, forced GEO to pull its offer. More than likely, FAU turned it down and allowed GEO to officially pull the offer in order to save face. The football facility is called FAU Stadium.

    • Kristi Dosh
      June 26, 2014

      Thank you, Jake. We’ll add Boise State’s new deal.

      Thanks, Bob! We wrote about the deal falling through, but we forgot to take it back off of our spreadsheet.