The cost of stadium naming rights is becoming too rich for some big name brands

Heinz says it is unlikely to renegotiate a deal to extend its tenure as the name of the Pittsburgh Steelers stadium.

July 31, 2019

Kraft Heinz is wrapping up a 20-year, $57m naming rights deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and according to Sports Business Journal, the corporate condiment cornucopia is “highly unlikely” to renew.

The recent back-and-forth between Heinz and the Steelers franchise highlights the exorbitant (and rising) costs for a brand to slap its name on a stadium — and whether, in today’s sports climate, it’s actually worth it.

Will Heinz throw in the ‘terrible towel’?

The original 2001 deal works out to an estimated $2.8m a year. To re-up, the Steelers are reportedly seeking a contract worth north of $10m annually; a number the ketchup king has balked at — and that’s still wayyy below market price.

Most companies pay between $5m and $12m and Axios reports that private lender SoFi is expected to pay a whopping $400m over 20 years to put its name on the new Rams/Chargers stadium in LA ($20m per year).

But, as IRL sports viewership wanes and stadiums begin to downsize, is the current market really worth the splurge?

Arguably more than ever

It’s all about those brand impression rates, babayyy. 

Think about it: The next season of Madden (that can now be streamed across like 80B platforms alone) is basically free advertising for companies like Levi’s, Citigroup, Chase —  the list goes on. And that’s just one avenue. 

Of course, teams have to have a fan base. It’s hard to definitively say it’s worth it for Canadian Tire Centre to rep its logo at the front door of the Ottawa Senators — snooooooze.

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