In the NFL, it has become a rarity to see a stadium that is not named for a corporate sponsor. Over the years, stadium naming rights have become widespread throughout all major sports, and the NFL has seen some interesting effects from naming rights.
Most teams now will announce corporate naming rights partners for new stadiums years before they open, and in some cases—the Mercedes-Benz Superdome being one prominent example—naming rights deal can be reached long after a facility opens.
Yet there are a select few NFL stadiums in 2018 that are not attached to a corporate naming rights partner, a group that spans from some of the league’s most historic venues to one built in the year 2000. We look at NFL stadiums without naming rights partners, and how their situations differ.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles Rams
For now, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum remains on this list, but that will not be the case for much longer. In an agreement that takes effect in 2019, the historic venue will become United Airlines Memorial Coliseum as the result of a 16-year, $69-million naming rights contract. This is the first naming rights agreement ever for the Coliseum, which will undergo renovations over the next couple of years and remain home of USC football for the foreseeable future. The Rams, meanwhile, will continue playing there until their new Inglewood stadium opens in 2020.
Soldier Field, Chicago Bears
Originally opening as Municipal Grant Park Stadium in 1924, the facility was formally dedicated under the Soldier Field name in 1926. In the early 2000s, there was considerable discussion about the possibility of selling name rights, but in late September 2001—shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and months before a major renovation began—it was announced that the stadium would retain the Soldier Field name.
Lambeau Field, Green Bay Packers
One of the most venerable stadiums in the NFL, Lambeau Field originally opened for the Packers as City Stadium in 1957. In August 1965—two months after his death—the facility was renamed Lambeau Field in honor of Curley Lambeau and has retained that name ever since.
Oakland Alameda-County Coliseum, Oakland Raiders
This facility is a bit of an outlier, as it has actually been under a few naming rights deals in its history, the most recent of which was O.Co Coliseum because of an agreement with Overstock.com. The Oakland Alameda-County Coliseum name has been back in place since Overstock opted out of its deal in 2016, and it remains to be seen if the venue will secure another naming rights partner. The Raiders are set to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020, while MLB’s A’s are pursuing a new ballpark in Oakland.
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead Stadium has had the same name since its opening in 1972, which is certainly a rarity among NFL facilities. The Chiefs have expressed a willingness in the past to consider selling naming rights to the field but have indicated that Arrowhead Stadium would remain in the venue’s name.
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati Bengals
Named in honor of legendary coach and Bengals’ founder Paul Brown, Paul Brown Stadium holds the distinction of being the youngest stadium in the NFL to never have a corporate naming rights deal (it opened in 2000). As recently as last April, the Bengals stated that they had and could once again seek a naming-rights partner, but that they did not believe it would result in a significant revenue boost. “The club has looked at naming rights in the past and will likely do so again in the future,” said Bengals vice president Troy Blackburn in a USA TODAY Sports story. “That said, the naming rights market doesn’t normally yield much more than a couple million dollars per year in the smaller markets. It isn’t enough to make a true difference.”
It should be noted that Sports Authority Field at Mile High falls into a bit of a gray area. While Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy in 2016—and Sports Authority signage was removed from the facility earlier this year—the stadium officially remains under the Sports Authority Field at Mile High name for now. The Denver Broncos have spent the last few years searching for a new corporate naming rights partner.