From The St. Louis Business Journal
If the St. Louis Rams don’t move to California, they’ll soon be playing at National Car Rental Field.
National Car Rental and the St. Louis Regional Sports Authority have agreed to terms on a $158 million, 20-year naming rights deal for the proposed $1 billion Mississippi riverfront stadium in St. Louis.
The deal is contingent on a team playing in the stadium.
Broken down, the average annual payment for the naming rights comes to $7.9 million, though National Car Rental will pay $6.5 million in year one with a 2 percent annual inflation escalator each year over the course of the agreement. Now, the Rams get about $3 million per year from Edward Jones for stadium naming rights.
National Car Rental operates as a subsidiary of Clayton-based Enterprise Holdings, which reported revenue of $17.8 billion in fiscal 2014.
“Having National Car Rental and Enterprise Holdings on board clearly helps us reinforce the fact that St. Louis is a strong NFL city and a world-class community by any measure,” said Dave Peacock, co-leader of the task force working to build the new riverfront stadium.
The deal would rank among the NFL’s 10 most lucrative, according to research by John Vrooman, a Vanderbilt University economics professor and expert on sports economics. It would rank just behind the Minnesota Vikings’ $8.8 million-per-year deal for U.S. Bank Stadium and ahead of the Arizona Cardinals $7.8 million per year deal for University of Phoenix Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys have the most lucrative stadium naming rights deal with AT&T for AT&T Stadium, worth $18 million annually.
Patrick Farrell, chief marketing and communications officer for Enterprise Holdings, said Peacock approached Enterprise over the summer about sponsorship opportunities.
“He was talking on a smaller level — just to have some part of the stadium that would be dedicated to Enterprise or whatever brand we preferred,” Farrell said. “We thought about it and said we’d like to talk about the naming rights of the entire stadium, which I think surprised him a bit in a good way.”
The deal is the first of its kind for Enterprise, which to date does not hold the naming rights to any sporting facility, Farrell said.
In 2012, the Rams and Edward Jones agreed on a $32.7 million, 11-year agreement that expires in 2025 for the naming rights to the Edward Jones Dome.
Brad Iversen, chief marketing officer for Edward Jones, has previously said the company was “very interested” in buying the new riverfront stadium’s naming rights, should it be built.
Edward Jones officials did not return requests for comment on the matter. It’s unclear if they made an offer for the new stadium’s naming rights or were offered a chance to outbid Enterprise.
In the NFL, teams typically retain revenue from naming rights and other properties. It hasn’t been decided whether the money from the naming rights deal will go to the Rams.
“This naming rights agreement delivers a vital asset to our effort, and that’s additional financial certainty for the project that may flow through the team or stadium authority, depending on negotiations,” Peacock said. “For now, the important takeaway is the confidence of National Rental Car in what this agreement will mean for the NFL and the future of St. Louis.”
Farrell said the deal makes sense for Enterprise as it tries to grow the National Car Rental brand, which he said Enterprise acquired in 2007 and has $2 billion in annual revenue.
Stadium naming rights have become a big money maker for new stadiums. Farmers Insurance, for example, previously committed to a 30-year, $700 million ($23 million annually) naming rights deal for the now-dead AEG stadium plan in Los Angeles.
In Minnesota, the Vikings and U.S. Bancorp agreed to a 20-year naming rights deal north of $200 million. St. Louis stadium task force officials have said that they’ve tried to mirror Minnesota’s stadium plan to date.