In what Sports Business Daily termed “one of the most surprising deals of the year, Livestrong has been announced as the naming rights sponsor for Sporting Kansas City’s new stadium set to open this Spring. The facility will now be know as Livestrong Sporting Park. Remarkably, the deal will cost Livestrong nothing, and will tie Sporting’s name with the well known cancer charity in return for the gift. Moreover, for the duration of the agreement, a portion of stadium revenues, including ticket sales, will go to the charity.
The deal is estimated at $8 million dollars over 6 years (with the money running from the team to the charity). Although cynics may argue that this deal suggests that KC was unable to locate a stadium sponsor, others suggest that this represents a shrewd move. Sporting will now combine its new identity with a well recognized entity that has raised over $400 million to fight cancer. To the extent that the team can generate free publicity at charity events and through the media for its association with the team, KC may reap benefits for years. However, one must wonder if the team would have turned down a very profitable sponsorship deal if it had been in the offing.
The team has actually had a history with the organization and now takes that relationship to a new level. Regardless, of the reasons, Sporting is generating headlines and that is key. The value of this move will be based on the relationships it establishes and the press that it generates.