The commercial-airline fight between Delta Airlines and Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has a new beneficiary — University of Washington athletics. Naming rights to Husky Stadium have been sold to Alaska for $41 million over 10 years.
“Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium” is the new moniker, according to the Seattle Times Wednesday night. Alaska has a similar deal for UW’s basketball arena — $700,000 a year for five years ending in 2016.
The UW claims it is the largest deal of its kind in major college athletics. When the $282 million renovation of the 1920 stadium was completed in 2013, UW was said to be seeking $50 million. The deal has been in negotiation for more than a year.
UW is dedicating more than half the revenues to scholarships and athlete welfare, a response to pressure on TV-wealthy NCAA schools to fund the total cost of scholarship-athlete attendance.
As part of the deal, UW is creating an Athletic Village presented by Alaskas Airlines, which incorporates all of the athletic facilities around the stadium.
“This agreement formally brings together two iconic local organizations for the next decade,” Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines, said in a statement. “Alaska is proud to be the official airline of the University of Washington, a pillar in the Seattle community with a rich tradition of academics and athletics.”
Alaska and Delta have been engaged in an intense battle for market share in Seattle. This week the Seattle Sounders announced Delta as its official airline partner.
“I am thrilled that we can expand on a local connection and enhance a long-standing relationship with a Seattle company who shares our values so deeply,” said UW athletics director Scott Woodward. As the costs of funding a first-class student-athlete experience continue to rise, it is critical that we seek new and creative funding opportunities with partners who share our values.”
It was a matter of time ever since UW sold off the naming rights of Hec Ed. Sad reality of sports today. I’m going to move to the San Juans and build cabinets for a living when I see corporate sponsors names on high school jerseys.
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Get your tool belt ready. You want taxpayers to continue to fund sports when districts can’t buy classroom computers?
From what I’ve seen most have them or iPads. Or companies like Microsoft and Apple donate them. (Gotta get their brand out there.) But they sacrifice in other areas like building maintenance or teacher’s salaries.
The naming rights thing doesn’t matter to me. Its the atmosphere that sucks. I’ve gone to a couple of games in the new stadium, and while the views and aesthetics are great, it seems a very sterile, almost Safeco Field-like experience, to me. The Husky Marching Band is almost undetectable anymore, replaced by the worst of the worst pop music and most overplayed stadium songs available. This is insulting at best, to anyone who knows what music is. The entire experience seems driven by an onslaught of advertisements, flashing lights, and bells and whistles. Its like whoever runs the stadium in the Athletic Department went to the Howard Lincoln School of Stadium Banality.
Add to that all the bizarre kick off times. Last year one game time was not announced until five days before kick off and then was set at 7:45 pm. In November. I live in town, so to speak, but imagine what that does for the ticket holders that travel from other parts of the region. Sac St is at 11:00 am. I’m beginning to stay home in protest. Each year my son and I evaluate whether to continue as season ticket holders, we’ve been so since 1989. We haven’t gotten to the tipping point but we can see it from here.
The inability for fans to plan around game starts/dates well ahead of time is the single most annoying change. But gate revenues are so down the list behind TV revs that UW and every other big program in the country don’t have to care if you’re inconvenienced. They know you’ll eventually be replaced by a generation who never knew another way.
Yep, soon we will have pop up games.
BTW, school bands and in particular the random outbursts of the drum section is one of the things that has always made college ball better than the NFL. It’s going away……
Far as I know, the band is still there, with no plans for removal.
They’ve been moved to where the sound carries less, and many of the times out that used to feature the band playing now have said awfulpopmusic.
I get some of that, but in a time of increasingly short attention spans, the gimmickry — and the ads — are claimed to be necessary.
As far as music, it’s a dead man’s job to attempt to please people whose ages run from 10 to 80.
While the ads run I just check my Facebook feed on my smartphone. ;-)
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