Last Sunday night the world saw SoFi Stadium in all its glory for the first time. Well, that’s not exactly right because there were no fans in the stadium, but the TV coverage showed off the new stadium brilliantly.
When we first learned that SoFi had acquired the naming rights for the new NFL stadium I was somewhat dubious that this was good value for money. It was initially reported that SoFi would pay $30 million per year and it now appears that the terms are $20 million per year over 20 years, still a huge amount of money for a young company.
But as Anthony Noto, CEO of SoFi, said on CNBC last week that he wants to make SoFi a household name and that this stadium sponsorship will go a long way towards achieving that goal.
As I watched the Rams-Cowboys match last Sunday night I heard veteran sports commentator Al Michaels wax poetic about the SoFi Stadium calling it the most impressive stadium in the world. The SoFi brand was everywhere and the overhead pictures of the stadium with a massive SoFi logo on the roof, were spectacular. Any true football fan (of which there are many millions) now knows the SoFi name. And there will be tens of millions more when the stadium hosts the Superbowl at the end of the 2021 season. Not to mention the 2023 College Football National Championship AND the 2028 Olympics.
So, while I was initially doubtful about this move for SoFi I have come around to being fully on board. When you think about it, naming rights for a stadium makes more sense for a company like SoFi than it does for an already well-established brand. I would argue that the exposure they received last Sunday night alone was worth many millions of dollars as their name and logo was on display for a good chunk of the evening with 19 million people watching. And to be associated with such a modern, cutting edge stadium aligns well with the SoFi brand.
I know SoFi had big plans in place for the fans attending games this season but that will have to wait. But given the serious exposure their brand will get every week during the football season (the LA Rams share the stadium with the LA Chargers) you might even argue they are getting decent value for the $20 million they will spend this year.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes SoFi to truly become a household name. And if they do indeed make this happen and become a mainstream finance brand this stadium will have likely played a significant role.
You can hear the SoFi CEO on the virtual keynote stage at LendIt Fintech USA 2020 in two weeks where he will likely be asked questions about the stadium deal.