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.”