To set the table lets switch gears and talk about the East Club. 1,600 premium seats which are going for about one thousand a year. If they sell out that will be an extra 1.6 million a year in revenue for the program. Buffalo Athletic Director Danny White has said that the seating revenue will play a huge factor in financing his facilities road map.
So if 1.6 Million a year in renaming rights is the key to financing the field house, the stadium improvements, and other athletics improvements how much could stadium naming rights help?
Stadium Naming right are nothing new. They exist at every level of competition. From the First Niagara Center of the NHL, to the AAA's Coca-Cola field. At the college level it's not just big name schools earning a few dimes for their stadium naming rights.
Apogee Stadium in North Texas pulls down one million a year for The Mean Green. Bright House Networks Stadium, was named while the Knights were still a so-so conference USA tame and it earns $1 million a year over a 15-year deal (starting in 2006) with the cable company Bright House.
In our own conference there is InfoCision Stadium, in Akron Ohio. InfoCision is currently in the midst of a half-a-million dollar per year deal for the next decade. In addition to the stadium Akron cut a deal with Summa Health. From that deal the Zips earn $250,000 per year for the next two decades to call their field "Summa Health Field".
These stadiums are typically far newer and better designed than the current incarnation of UB Stadium. While I would be surprised to see the bulls pull down money matching what the East Club would bring in there are plenty of companies in Buffalo who might be happy to throw some money UB's way to get their name mentioned on several national broadcast a year.
Right off the top of my head what about "Rich Stadium"?
Back in the 70's Rich Products, a Buffalo-based food products company, signed a 25-year, $1.5 million deal to name the new NFL venue in Buffalo "Rich Stadium". This was one of the earliest examples of the sale of naming rights in North American sports, perhaps the Rich Family, which includes many UB Alumni, would be interested in putting their name on a Buffalo Football Stadium?
The company was founded in 1945 by Robert E. Rich, A graduate of UB and a former UB Bull. After graduation his development of a non-dairy whipped topping based on soybean oil set Rich Foods on the fast track for success. Since then, the company has expanded its non-dairy frozen food offerings, and also supplies products to retailers, in-store bakeries, and food service providers.
It's now one of the top 200 richest companies in the world. It is still headquarderterd in Buffalo and does 3.1 billion dollars a year in revenue.
Despite giving up the name "Rich Stadium" in Orchard park the Rich family maintains a lot of sports ties. They own the AAA Buffalo Bisons, the AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals, and the Jamestown Jammers single-a team. Outside of baseball the Rich family sponsors the English Northern League Division One team Bedlington Terriers F.C. and Front Row Motorsports' David Ragan in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
There are few family names more Buffalo than the Rich family. They are tied into UB, owners of a nationally recognized corporation, and sports enthusiast. It would be my hope that Danny White has noticed the recent events in Boise, where the Bronco's sold the naming rights to their stadium to Albertsons, a local grocery Store. The Broncos are getting 12.5 million over the next 15 years.
If the UB Athletics department has not went to Rich with an offer than they are leaving a potentially huge revenue source on the table. In addition to lost revenue there is the publicity. The name "Rich Stadium" is a known commodity among Buffalo sports fans.
There are other candidates like "New Era Caps" and "Delaware North". Both large companies run by University at Buffalo graduates. With New Era you have the tie in to the sports apparel market and events like the Pinstripe Bowl.
Delaware North is a is a global food service and hospitality company. DNC operates in the lodging, sporting, airport, gaming and entertainment industries. The company employs over 55,000 people worldwide and has over $2.6 billion in annual revenues.
So what say you UB fans? Who should UBAD be on the phone with?