The Crew have hatched a plan to make Crew Stadium's naming rights much more attractive, it includes a 100 foot tall electronic signboard. The team is hoping that the prominent placement along Interstate 71 convince a partner to pay $15 million over 10 years for prominent placement on the LED sign.
The sign is whiling it's way through governmental approvals with the Columbus Graphics Commission approving the plan yesterday and the Ohio Expositions Commission will hear the proposal tomorrow. The sign however may take much longer to be built. The team has said it won't be built until a naming rights deal is in place.
Crew Stadium has never had a naming rights deal in place in the 13 years the facility has been open. Mark McCullers has made getting naming rights for the stadium a chief goal in shoring up the financial situation of the franchise. It's one of the three keys to making the team profitable. The Crew sealed up one of the keys in February with their partnership with Barbasol to sponsor the Crew jersey. They currently appear to be short of the 10,000 season tickets they also need.
Around Columbus, the trend is strongly moving towards naming rights. The Blue Jackets home, Nationwide Arena's rights were just renegotiated for $28 million until 2022. Huntington Park, home of the Clippers, naming rights sold for $12 million for 23 years. All recent MLS stadiums have had naming rights deals in place, including Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium, Philidelphia's PPL Park, and Salt Lake City's Rio Tinto Stadium.
It's apparent that the Crew are playing catchup in the Columbus market and around the league. They have struggled to complete a deal and the LED tower is an eye catching idea that may just bring new bidders to the table.