The ongoing modernization of Sun Devil Stadium has brought many changes to the facility, and some are wondering whether that will extend to the venue’s name.
Arizona State University‘s Sun Devil Stadium is in the midst of an ongoing renovation project that has been spread out over multiple phases. Phases one and two were completed before the 2015 and 2016 seasons, respectively. Between now and the beginning of the 2017 campaign, ASU will look to wrap up the installation of a new videoboard and complete a new student athlete-facility. A third major phase of the renovation is expected to take place on the east side of Sun Devil Stadium between the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
As other schools have done previously, ASU could look to leverage a stadium renovation into a corporate naming rights deal. Though the playing surface was dedicated as Frank Kush Field in 1996, the name Sun Devil Stadium has been in place since the stadium opened in 1958. It has been expanded and modernized a few times in its history, but the ongoing renovation is expected to ensure the stadium’s place at ASU for years to come.
With that in mind, some believe that it is possible that ASU could obtain a naming rights deal, even as the nearby Arizona Cardinals continue their search for a new partner for University of Phoenix Stadium. An ASU official, however, has said that there is nothing new to share on the naming rights front. More from Cronkite News:
“When the stadium aged and became a bit archaic in its landscape, those events moved to other venues,” [Line Drive CEO] Olsen said. “Now, with the work that they are putting into Sun Devil Stadium, I think you’ll see the opportunity for them to hold more events will be there, if they choose to do so.”
Rocky Harris, chief operating officer of Sun Devil Athletics, said there is no new information “to share at this time” regarding a potential naming-rights deal for Sun Devil Stadium.
Along with 13 FBS programs with deals, there are 20 college basketball arenas with naming-rights agreements, including ASU. Olsen said he is confident there will be a dramatic increase in those deals because of the unpredictable aspect of professional sports.
He said he believes the rise of college athletics is due in part to the high rate at which professional athletes change teams, either through trade or free agency.
“The proliferation of college athletics, I think, went hand in hand with more people going to college and there being robust growth there,” Olsen said. “To me, the college game provides unparalleled excitement and competition.
Phase two, the portion of the renovation completed before last season, largely addressed the west side of Sun Devil Stadium. Once the project is complete, the facility should be equipped with most of the modern amenities that fans and players have come to expect in modern NCAA venues, including improved student-athlete space, new seating, and technology upgrades.
Rendering courtesy Arizona State University.