Livestrong Stadium Deal Sets Naming Rights On its Ear

In March Sporting Kansas City, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team announced that its new $200 million stadium, scheduled to open in June, would be named Livestrong Sporting Park, in honor of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Moreover, it appears that Livestrong did not pay for the naming rights and is instead guaranteed a donation of no less that $7.5 million over the next six years. The money will come from a portion of ticket and concession sales to both MLS matches and other events held in the stadium, including concerts.

This is the first time a nonprofit has received naming rights for a stadium in the United States. Normally, stadium naming rights go for millions of dollars, even for MLS stadiums. The MLS team in my modestly-sized market, Real Salt Lake, gets a reported $1.5 million to $2 million a year for naming rights from Rio Tinto, the global mining conglomerate headquarterd in London, but with a substantial presence in the Salt Lake Valley.

Soccer is no stranger to causes. My friend Jose Sanchez in his guest post on April 12, tells how Mexico’s Fundacion Cim*ab (a NGO dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer) and Federacion Mexicana de Futbol did a 'Pink Futbol' campaign that spanned that league.

Futbol Club Barcelona’s jersey included a UNICEF logo, for which it reportedly paid UNICEF €1.5 million a year. That deal is apparently ending since FC Barcelona has agreed to a €4 million a year deal for jersey sponsorship with the country of Quatar.

But the Lifestrong deal is potentially more valuable than the FC Barcelona-UNICEF deal since it includes all events in the stadium.

I’d some to see the math on the Livestrong Sporting Park deal, since it is so different than anything other naming rights deal.

In the meantime, witness the power of the Livestrong brand when it comes to cause marketing.

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