Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Levi's Stadium: Name sounds enduring
By Mike Sando
The San Francisco 49ers have set out to build the most technologically advanced stadium in history. We might consider it a small upset, then, that they have secured a naming-rights sponsor known for producing blue jeans pretty much the same way since 1873.
Levi's Stadium joins CenturyLink Field, University of Phoenix Stadium and the Edward Jones Dome among sponsored playing venues in the NFC West.
The 20-year agreement for naming rights could be worth $220 million, enough to purchase 4.4 million pairs of jeans at $50 a pop. The agreement is subject to approval Thursday by the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.
Levi Strauss & Co. is based in San Francisco and got its start when its namesake, having moved from New York, began selling various products during the Gold Rush. So, there are natural ties between the 49ers and Levi Strauss.
The potential for long-term stability seems strong. The Levi's brand will presumably endure as it has for 160 years. The 49ers likely won't have an unpleasant name change forced upon them, as the case was when CenturyLink overtook Qwest, affecting the Seahawks' stadium brand. I think that's something to consider whenever a team enters into an agreement with branding and profits and mind.
There can be only one Candlestick Park. It's closing after the 2013 season. The new stadium is scheduled for completion in time for the 2014 opener.
We should note that Wrangler endorser Drew Brees and Hudson Jeans endorser Rob Gronkowski are scheduled to visit Levi's Stadium with their teams in 2016. Niners coach Jim Harbaugh will presumably wear his khakis that day, same as always. Levi's does manufacture khaki Dockers, for those wondering.
Update: The most prominent Levi's endorser in the NFC West plays for the rival Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson signed on last season.