The Orlando Sentinel has the story….
“Citrus" will be squeezed out of Florida Citrus Bowl’s name, Mark Schlueb, Orlando Sentinel
Citrus' days are likely numbered at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
In a region where citrus was once king, one of the most prominent vestiges of that heritage — the Florida Citrus Bowl stadium — will drop "citrus" from its name.
For the right price.
Florida Citrus Sports, the organization that hosts college-football bowl games and other events at the venue, is trying to sell naming rights to a corporate sponsor. If successful, some company — likely with no connection to the citrus industry — will slap its name on the stadium.
"In this day and age, that's what comes with major sports in our country," said Steve Hogan, chief executive officer of the FCS.
It wouldn't be the first name change for the stadium, but it has been associated with the citrus industry for most of its 78 years.
It was called Orlando Stadium from 1936 to 1946 but was renamed the Tangerine Bowl for the next 28 years. In 1976, it took the name Citrus Bowl, then returned to the original Orlando Stadium name for the next five years. It was first named the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1983, and it's been called that ever since.
The name came from the state Citrus Commission, which used taxes collected from growers to sponsor the New Year's Day bowl game now known as the Capital One Bowl. The stadium took the same citrus moniker as the game and kept it even after the Citrus Commission ended its longtime, $657,000-a-year sponsorship in 2002.
Citrus used to be a dominant Florida industry but has declined through the years.
Groves have been smacked by disease and devastated by freezes.
Growers have given in to development pressure, selling off acres of orange and grapefruit trees for suburban housing developments.
Citrus greening, a bacterial disease that arrived in 2005, represents the biggest danger yet and threatens to kill the industry.
Longtime citrus grower Jerry Chicone Jr. helped push for the Citrus Bowl name, and said he prefers old names such as the Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl to the corporate names now tacked on.
But he understands that money matters.
"We worked very hard back in the early days to name the Florida Citrus Bowl," he said. "But across the country, because these facilities cost so darn much money, the new tradition is they all sell the name.
"One of the necessities today is to have a corporate name. In the industry, they'll probably hang me, but everything changes."
What might the corporate “naming rights” to the soon-to-be Florida Citrus Bowl be worth to the City of Orlando in the marketplace?
Well, checking some of the recent “naming rights” lists that have been put out by various media organizations in recent years…
Top 100 North American Stadium Naming Rights Deals, The Sport Market
Naming Rights Deals, Sports Business Daily
Playing the Stadium Name Game, New York Times
….and a few news stories on recent large “naming rights” deals….
StubHub takes naming rights at Home Depot Center, Dan Muret, Sports Business Daily
AT&T gets naming rights to Cowboys stadium, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
49ers’ Levi’s Stadium the 3rd-biggest naming rights deal in American sports, Louis Bien, SB Nation
….one can come up with the following list of the current top Naming Rights Deals in America:
Top 27 Stadium Naming Rights Deals in USA - $5M Plus (M = Millions of Dollars)
1. Citi Field - Queens, New York City - $20M per yr ($400M Total)
2. Barclay’s Center - Brooklyn, New York - $20 per yr ($400M Total)
3. AT&T Stadium - Arlington, Texas - $19M per yr ($380M Total)
4. MetLife Stadium - Meadowlands, New Jersey - $16M per yr ($400M Total)
6. Levi’s Stadium - Santa Clara, California - $11 per yr ($220M Total)
7. Reliant Stadium - Houston, Texas - $10M per yr ($330M Total)
8. Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, Louisiana - $10M per yr ($100M Total)
9. StubHub Center - Carson, California - $10M per yr ($100M Total)
10. Phillips Arena - Atlanta, Georgia - $9.1M per yr ($181.9M Total)
11. Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Mass. - $8M per yr ($120M Total)
12. University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, Arizona - $7.72M per yr ($154.5M Total)
13. FedEx Field - Landover, Maryland - $7.59M per yr ($205M Total)
14. SunLife Stadium - Miami, Florida - $7.5M per yr ($37.5M Total)
15. Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, North Carolina - $7M per yr ($140M Total)
16. Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia, Penn. - $6.98M per yr ($139.6M Total)
17. American Airlines Center - Dallas, Texas - $6.5M per yr ($195M Total)
18. Minute Maid Park - Houston, Texas - $6.36M per yr ($178M Total)
19. Lucas Oil Stadium - Indianapolis, Indiana - $6.07M per yr ($121.5M Total)
20. Sports Authority Field - Denver, Colorado - $6M per yr ($150M Total)
21. TD Garden - Boston, Mass. - $6M per yr ($120M Total)
22. Staples Center - Los Angeles, California - $5.8M per yr ($116M Total)
23. Prudential Center - Newark, New Jersey - $5.25M per yr ($105M Total)
24. Target Field - Minneapolis, Minnesota - $5M per yr ($125M Total)
25. CenturyLink Field - Seattle, Washington - $5M ($75M Total)
26. Toyota Center - Houston, Texas - $5M per yr ($100M Total)
27. M & T Bank Stadium - Baltimore, Maryland - $5M per yr ($75M Total)