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Good Question: Are Stadium Naming Rights Worth It?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- U.S. Bank Stadium. It might not quite roll off our tongues, but we'll soon be used to saying it. The country's fifth largest bank announced today it'll pay the Vikings over 20 years to have its name on the stadium. Reports have valued the deal at $220 million, but WCCO sources say it's less.

So, are naming rights worth it?

"In general, it is, simply because these deals keep being done," said Nels Popp, a professor of sport administration at the University of North Carolina.

Experts say it's hard to measure the exactly how much a company gains from naming rights, but the benefits can range from creating goodwill, driving traffic to their business and instilling pride in a workforce.

"Some companies do it for local pride and what it does for the community," said Rob Prazmark, CEO and Founder of 21 Marketing, a sports and entertainment marketing firm. He also said companies can use the naming rights as a recruiting tool to attract the most talented people.

The priciest naming rights deals are the Dallas Cowboy's AT&T Stadium and the New York Mets Citi Field. Both are valued at $400 million over 20 years. The reported numbers on the U.S. Bank deal would come close to the 4th most expensive stadium – the San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium for $220 million over 20 years.

"U.S. Bank wants to reach as many people as they can," said Rayla Allison, a professor sport finance at the University of Minnesota.

She said value of deal ultimately comes down to media exposure – the number of times the name of the company is mentioned and how much they'd have to pay for the same amount of advertising. Much of that comes down to market size and the success of the team. A larger market and a longer playoff season means more eyeballs.

Teams will also offer suites or general seating tickets to corporate naming right sponsors.

"Yes, they obviously think it's worth it," said Allison.

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