It was officially announced this morning that StubHub is taking over the naming rights for the soccer stadium and sports complex on Victoria Street in Carson, CA on the campus of Cal State University Dominguez Hills. The rights have been held by The Home Depot for ten years, since the facility opened in 2003.
According to a report from Sports Business Daily (link), the deal is for six years and will be worth more per year than The Home Depot's sponsorship of the complex. That original arrangement was worth $70 million over 10 years. The Home Depot chose not to renew this deal in September of last year.
"As leaders in the ticketing industry, providing the highest levels of customer satisfaction and as an increasingly popular consumer brand, this partnership is groundbreaking for our company. We look forward to the relationship with millions of fans at StubHub Center," said Danielle Maged, Global Head of Partnerships and Business Development at StubHub. "At StubHub, we have an unyielding focus on the fan experience and with our partners at AEG, we intend for StubHub Center to be the embodiment of that focus as we work to create one of the most fan friendly stadiums in the world."
This is the first time that a ticketing company has attached its name to a public venue. StubHub and it's parent comany eBay announced a partnership with AEG back in November of last year. While negotiating the secondary ticket rights, the subject of taking over the Victoria Street stadium naming rights was brought up. According to the Sports Business Daily report, StubHub was the only company AEG talked to about the naming rights.
StubHub is based in San Francisco and was founded by two Stanford graduates. StubHub has ticket reselling deals and sponsorships with MLB, ESPN, and the EPL. They also have individual deals with teams in the NFL, NHL, NBA, and now MLS.
AEG's deal with StubHub makes them the official ticket reseller for all their venues worldwide, including the Victoria Street soccer stadium and Staples Center. Also as part of the deal, StubHub replaced The Home Depot as a founding partner at Staples Center with marketing assets at LA Live.
From an business outsider's perspective, it would seem these naming rights are just a component of a much larger deal that aims to make StubHub as much of a household name as Ticketmaster. However, the $7 million AEG got per year from The Home Depot is three times any of the recently announced MLS naming rights deals, and if StubHub's deal is worth even more that's quite an impressive negotiation by AEG.
No word yet on if StubHub's relaunching of the stadium will come with any stadium improvements. The ten year old soccer stadium was built when MLS only had one soccer specific stadium, and both The Home Depot Center and Crew Stadium have been called glorified high school stadiums. Replacing the silver bleachers and an updated scoreboard would be a step toward putting that in the past.
There's a good deal of corporate speak in the release "transforming the live event experience with a focus on providing several ‘fan-friendly' activation components". That's either meaningless drivel or a lawyer speak for "we'll set up a pre-match fan zone". Either way, there will be some changes this summer in the place the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA call home.