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Albertsons paying $12.5 million to rename Boise State football stadium

Albertsons' CEO says the naming rights deal is a show of commitment to the local community. Illustration courtesy of Boise State University Athletics.

Albertsons’ CEO says the naming rights deal is a show of commitment to the local community. Illustration courtesy of Boise State University Athletics.

Albertsons LLC has agreed to pay $12.5 million over 15 years to rename Bronco Stadium at Boise State University as Albertsons Stadium. The Boise-based grocery company said the announcement is intended to solidify the company’s place in Boise.

“We’re anxious to let people know we’re here to stay. It’s our corporate headquarters, it’s going to be, and this is a good way to reinforce that message,” said Albertsons CEO Bob Miller.

Boise State University President Bob Kustra said Boise State and Albertsons have long been partners, with the school’s library also named after the grocery chain.

“There’s been this very proud tradition of Boise state and Albertsons working together for academic and athletic excellence,” Kustra said.

At the announcement May 21, Boise State released mockups showing small Albertsons logos on the blue turf, press box, and exterior of the stadium.

The stadium sits next to Taco Bell Arena. The fast food brand has a $4 million deal to keep its name atop the arena, which hosts basketball games, concerts and other events, for 15 years, starting back in 2004.

Albertsons LLC formed in 2006 when parent company Cerberus Capital Management acquired Albertsons stores. In 2013, the company acquired Supervalu’s Albertsons stores, which included locations in Idaho. The Albertsons brand was started in 1939 by grocer Joe Albertson in Boise.

Relatively few West Coast college football teams have corporate names for their stadium. Only one other Mountain West Conference football team plays in a stadium with a corporate sponsor. San Diego State University plays at Qualcomm Stadium, which is also the home field for the professional San Diego Chargers.

Neither the University of Idaho’s Kibbie Dome or Idaho State University’s Holt Arena have a corporately backed name, though Sandpoint-based Litehouse Foods is paying $200,000 a year through 2015 to put its name on the Kibbie Dome artificial turf.

In the Pac-12 conference, no stadiums are named directly after corporations. However, Oregon State University plays in Reser Stadium, after OSU alum and Reser’s Fine Foods CEO Al Reser gave the school $12.5 million for the stadium’s name for 25 years.

In the NFL, just six of the 32 teams play in stadiums without a corporate sponsor. Across the U.S., naming for pro sports arenas runs from around $1 million for Qualcomm and other stadiums to $21 million for Citi Field, home field of the New York Mets baseball team.

College-only football stadium naming rights are less lucrative, perhaps because college teams typically play fewer home games on their field. NFL teams have at least 10 home games, including preseason games, while college teams play approximately six to eight home games.

The $833,333 annual payment for the stadium is more than some deals for similarly sized college stadiums, including Rutgers University’s 2011 deal worth $650,000 for its football stadium. However, it trails other naming rights deals, including the University of Central Florida’s $1 million per year pact signed in 2006.

About Brad Iverson-Long

Brad Iverson-Long is a reporter for the Idaho Business Review, covering banks, financial services, technology and new business.