Stadium naming rights deals – Top 10 tips
17 July 2015
Naming rights deals are one of the most complex forms of sponsorship agreements. This inbrief guide seeks to get rights holders thinking about all the key issues which will need to be included in the agreement, before they negotiate any deal
1 Scope of rights
The single most important thing is to define precisely what is being sold.
With stadium naming rights deals there is normally an obvious physical structure to which the sponsor’s name will attach – the stadium. But how should “the Stadium” be defined? As stadiums more frequently have multiple purposes or are built within a multi-use venue/destination, what does the rights holder actually control? Are there facilities at the venue (perhaps shops, restaurants, hotels, casinos, offices) which are integrated within the footprint of the venue, but over which the rights holder has no control? These may need to be carved out of the definition unless contractual obligations can be imposed on the relevant owners/lessees of the properties to use the ‘sponsored’ name throughout the term of the naming rights agreement.
Are there other properties, away from the Stadium, which will also adopt the sponsor’s name. Eg a training ground, park and ride facility, local station?
The branding and advertising which the sponsor will be offered will need to be clearly spelt out. Essentially, there should be a schedule to the agreement which sets out a complete inventory, with illustrations where appropriate. This should deal with branding on the physical structure, advertising sites around the stadium and field of play, signage and miscellaneous things like colours of seats or paint schemes, if these are being offered to tie-in to the sponsorship. If planning permissions/advertising consents are relevant and have not yet been sought, the agreement will need to make sure the branding inventory is subject to obtaining these. It should also be clear who will pay for the re-branding.
If a company is coming on board as a naming-rights sponsor, they’re likely to want to acquire other relevant assets, such as:
- shirt sponsorship
- rights to use the stadium for events
- access to players, images, footage etc
- supply rights (see further below).
All of these additional rights will need to be carefully detailed.
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