The University of Maryland Maryland athletics department on Friday announced it’s sold the naming rights to its football stadium to credit union SECU for at least $11 million for the next 10 years. The stadium will officially be renamed SECU Stadium on Oct. 22.
Via a Maryland press release:
In addition to the official partner designation, the facility previously known as Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium will be renamed SECU Stadium and will debut on Oct. 1, 2022 as Maryland Football hosts Michigan State for its Big Ten home opener.
The 10-year partnership will also include benefits for the entire campus. SECU will co-present financial wellness workshops for faculty and staff and will partner on the creation of a new financial literacy course for all students. Additionally, Maryland Athletics will amplify SECU’s Kindness Campaign, a project designed to inspire acts of service throughout our communities.
Among that total is a $2.5 million gift toward Maryland’s planned $40 million standalone Barry P. Gossett Basketball Performance Center, to be built next to Xfinity Center. SECU will also provide financial literacy and wellness programs for athletes, other students and staff, and partner with Maryland on other charitable works.
“SECU’s a local company with local roots, been around for about 70 years. Their values are in alignment with the values that we have, specifically from a community service standpoint,” Maryland athletic director Evans told InsideMDSports.
There are some incentives in the contract. Evans expects the value of the deal to be worth $14-15 million all told, with an expected annual $300,000-$400,000 in variable compensation.
In order to make the deal with SECU (pronounced “see-cue”), though, Evans had to extract the school from an existing naming rights deal with Capital One Bank, which — then doing business as Chevy Chase Bank — signed a 25-year, $20 million deal with the school in 2006. That money was paid largely upfront, a move by then-athletic director Debbie Yow to address major budgetary shortfalls that had ballooned under her watch.
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“I would first and foremost thank Capital One. Because they’ve been a good partner. And when you have good partnerships like we’ve had, you’re able to do some things like this. Yeah, this is not the norm, let’s just be candid, that people will say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to relinquish the rights for you to move forward,'” Evans said. “The gist of that deal, we were not generating any revenue off that deal for the remainder of it … I can’t thank them enough, to allow us to move forward in this manner, to be able to try to drive some revenue.”
Why did Capital One let Maryland off the hook for the remaining four years? The company wasn’t focused on the naming rights in the first place; it signed the 2006 deal largely to get campus-wide exclusivity in terms of banking and ATMs. It was also early in the naming rights era, and to get both stadium and field naming rights is highly unusual, said Dan Shell, vice president of United Talent Agency, who helped facilitate the deal.
“It really was amicable,” he said of the dissolution of Capitol One’s naming rights deal, adding that the length of the deal and the amount Maryland will receive “are very competitive” in the current landscape.
“It was a smooth transition,” he said.
Every extra dollar helps Maryland, which has some of the lowest football revenues in the football-wealthy Big Ten Conference.
“For us to be able to drive revenue on an asset that wasn’t producing any revenue … We need to drive revenue at the University of Maryland to be able to keep up with our Big Ten counterparts,” Evans told IMS.
Dave Sweiderk, SECU’s president, said in the release: “As Maryland’s largest credit union, SECU takes great pride in partnering with Maryland Athletics and the entire University, one of the nation’s top public universities. Together, we are not only united in our love for Maryland but also in our commitment to positively impacting the people and communities we serve.
“As we continue to grow, it is important for SECU to give back to our communities and uphold our dedication to education and financial wellness. That’s why we are pleased to contribute to the enduring vitality of UMD, while helping its more than 40,000 students, 14,000 faculty and staff members, and Maryland’s next generation of leaders set a foundation for financial success.”
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