Education · Fresno State Bulldogs

Is Fresno State getting short-end of naming rights deal for Bulldog Stadium? Here’s where it stacks up.

Fresno State’s lucrative naming-rights deal for Bulldog Stadium could officially set to take effect next week. 

Next Tuesday, the California State University Board of Trustees is scheduled to discuss the renaming of Bulldog Stadium to Valley Children’s Stadium. 

The name change comes after the hospital and the university jointly announced the 10-year, $10 million agreement last August. 

Under the deal, Valley Children’s will provide $1 million per year to the university, but not entirely dedicated to athletics. 

University officials are tasked with splitting the pot of cash for uses including “support for students pursuing degrees in health.”

Also unclear is what, if any, annual proceeds will be claimed by Learfield Sports, the university’s media marketing agent.

“We are deeply proud that Valley Children’s Healthcare will be synonymous with Fresno State in such a significant way,” University President Saul Jimenez-Sandoval said at the time. 

“As a premier healthcare institution, their credible brand and commitment to children’s health aligns with our focus on student success that inspires Bulldog spirit and wellness. We are profoundly honored by this partnership, and appreciate Todd Suntrapak’s dynamic vision and the leadership of Valley Children’s Board of Trustees. Together, we will bring strength and vitality to our Valley.” 

The deal, which is on par with the City of Fresno’s 20-year naming rights pact struck with the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in 2000, is among a heady mix of stadium naming deals in the Mountain West.

In 2014, Albertsons agreed to sponsor Boise State’s football stadium for 15 years at $12.5 million. 

Utah State drew a $6.3 million deal from gas station chain Maverik Inc. for 15 years in 2015, and in 2016 San Jose State and the Citizens Equity First Credit Union (CEFCU) agreed to an $8.7 million deal for 15 years. 

The conference’s new stadiums have garnered far, far more lucrative deals than Fresno State could snag. 

Colorado State’s Canvas Stadium, which opened in 2017, has a $37.7 million deal from Canvas Credit Union for 15 years. That deal also came on top of a $20 million deal from an anonymous donor to name the field after former coach Sonny Lubick for 30 years. 

San Diego State’s Snapdragon Stadium is opening up this fall and boasts a $45 million commitment over 15 years from Qualcomm. 

Henry Madden Library on the chopping block

With Bulldog Stadium set to undergo a name change, the CSU Board of Trustees will also vote to rename Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library. 

The university library was named after former librarian Henry Madden in 1981. 

But it was revealed last November that Madden held anti-Semitic views and was a Nazi sympathizer. 

That led Jimenez-Sandoval to commission a task force to review the library’s name, which returned in April with a report detailing Madden’s views and resulted in the university’s decision to remove his name. 

The agenda for the Board of Trustees does not detail what the library’s name will be changed to.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.