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Last week, Kroger Co. announced it hoped to buy Boise’s Albertsons. If the deal goes through, what would happen to the naming rights for Albertsons Stadium at Boise State University?
KTIK’s Mike Prater and Johnny Ballgame asked us about this last week – and we now know more about the particulars of the contract. Boise State released a copy of the agreement between Albertsons and its third-party marketing firm Bronco Sports Properties to BoiseDev under Idaho’s Public Records Act.
In 2014, Boise State held a news conference in the Stueckle Sky Center to make a big announcement: after generations of using the name Bronco Stadium, the famous blue turf-ed facility would now be known as Albertsons Stadium. The rights cost $12.5 million and included a raft of side benefits, like the right to be the exclusive grocer of Boise State Athletics, signage and more.
The company’s then-CEO said it was a mark of the company’s commitment to Boise.
“We’re anxious to let people know we’re here to stay,” former Albertsons CEO Robert Miller said in 2014, according to an Idaho Business Review story at the time. “It’s our corporate headquarters, it’s going to be, and this is a good way to reinforce that message.”
While neither Kroger nor Albertsons has said where the company will keep its headquarters, Cincinnati-based Kroger is the acquiring firm, and its CEO will be in charge if the deal goes through sometime in early 2024.
15 years, with some caveats
The deal was for 15 years, and runs through the year 2028. But there are some important caveats, according to the contract.
First, if new owner Kroger wants out of the deal early, it can do so. The contract says that starting with the fifth year of the deal – which was 2018, it can drop the deal and the naming rights for any reason — or no reason at all. But, Albertsons will need to give Bronco State a two-year notice and pay an early termination fee. It is unknown what the termination fee is, as the dollar amounts in the deal are redacted. It’s also not known how much of the $12.5 million is paid each year – if it’s an even $833,333.33 for each year, or if the amounts increase or decrease as the deal goes along.
There’s another way things could change for the stadium. While the contract doesn’t generally allow them to change the name of the stadium, it says that if the company is merged or sold, they can request to change it.
In the acquisition announcement, the two companies said the new, larger company would pick up a new name – neither Albertsons nor Kroger. While store locations won’t get new names, the company will. The deal with Boise State allows the newly-combined company to ask for a name change with 60 days’ notice. If the combined Albertsons & Kroger come up with a new name (Krogertsons?… I kid…), they could also rename the stadium to match if they so choose.
Kroger hasn’t generally objected to paying for stadium naming rights. A few years after Albertsons ponied up for Bronco Stadium, Kroger decided to start writing checks to the University of Kentucky for the former Commonwealth Field. Kroger Field is on the UK campus in Lexington, about 90 minutes south of Kroger’s Cincinnati HQ.