Pechanga Resort Casino is among SoFi Stadium’s founding partners and has a branded space. (James Zoltak/Staff)
‘Once you get into this building, you start to understand what the opportunities are’
SoFi Stadium has plenty of sponsorship inventory remaining to sell at the $5 billion NFL facility, which opens Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams play host to the Dallas Cowboys, executives confirmed.
As it stands, officials have announced about 10 stadium sponsors. The list covers founding partners American Airlines, PepsiCo and Pechanga Resort Casino, plus adult beverage sponsors Anheuser-Busch and Constellation Brands, whose Corona and Pacifico labels are the official beers of the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively.
Cisco, the stadium’s official IT network services provider; Cedars-Sinai hospital; and tax accounting firm Deloitte are other sponsors, along with SoFi, the college loan lender that signed naming rights for the stadium.
Legends Global Sales sells the stadiumwide deals.
Those agreements are separate from team-specific deals that the Rams and the Chargers, the two teams that will call the venue home, have been selling since 2019 for categories that haven’t been filled by stadiumwide sponsorships.
American Airlines, Constellation Brands, Anheuser-Busch and Deloitte were Rams sponsors at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the team played for the past four seasons before moving to SoFi Stadium, said Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer.
Demoff and A.G. Spanos, the Chargers’ president of business operations, said more stadiumwide deals are expected to be signed as the teams settle in at the new venue and find other spaces to package as sponsorships.
SoFi Stadium takes up 3 million square feet over eight levels with multiple premium areas to brand. The 70,240-seat facility surpasses AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys’ home, as the biggest footprint for an NFL venue, so there’s plenty of real estate to brand over a building with lots of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Demoff said, “Once you get into this building, you start to understand what the opportunities are, that until the (project) is completed, you might not be able to sell, which entrances are now available, which nooks and crannies are terrific for partner activation that you might not have been able to understand from renderings or construction.”
The pandemic has slowed things down for getting deals done, considering the Rams and Chargers will play at least a portion of their home games without fans at SoFi Stadium, Spanos said. That situation remains fluid over the course of the 2020 season.
On their own, Chargers team sponsors are part of Charge Forward, the team’s plan to allow sponsors and PSL holders to move their deposits and financial commitments into 2021.
“Companies are in different boats,” Spanos said. “Some have been affected dramatically by the pandemic and others have been able to weather the storm better. There are a lot of conversations happening about how to handle this season. We’ve added a few partners, notably in the health and sanitation industries. It’s not just an activation that happens 10 times a year; it’s a year-round relationship.”
Dimensional Innovations, a Kansas City design firm specializing in developing branded spaces at sports venues, worked closely with StadCo, the parent company overseeing stadium development, Legends and project architect HKS to bring sponsorship elements to life.
The subcontractor also worked directly with a half-dozen individual sponsors to convey their brand messages, and has designs completed with future construction for a few other partners that have not been announced.
“There’s more stuff to sell and more work to come at what we’re calling Day 2,” said Justin Wood, Dimensional Innovations’ sports practice director. “There are probably six to eight other brands coming in the very near future.”
When the gates finally open for fans, they can expect heavy digital activations, Wood said. The building has a lot of technology, and it was key for DI to keep in mind that those spaces be flexible for both teams as well as all the special events booked at the stadium in future years.
“You’ll definitely see a lean towards the presence of any one of the brands and things that are very fan-forward and very flexible in what kind of stories they tell on a particular day,” he said.
The activations tied to SoFi itself will be completed over the next month. “The signage is amazing and bigger than anything we’ve ever done,” Wood said. “The scale is simply massive.”
Dimensional Innovations filled the same role at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for sponsor activation for the venue’s two tenants, the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United FC. As a result, designers had some experience working with two-team buildings.
“We cut our teeth there,” Wood said. “Even though they’re not both (American) football teams, we absolutely had to think about how to flip the space and make it feel like a football stadium one day and a soccer stadium the next day. Integration of technology was a very important part of our strategy and story overall.”
Wood said most of his firm’s work at SoFi Stadium was done through Stadco, which looked at the project through a landlord’s eye to make sure things would appeal to both teams and other events coming through the building.
“Some of the partners had long-standing relationships with the Rams or the Chargers, so they would be present at some of the meetings, but largely it was done at a level above the teams,” he said.