Report: Valley Children’s naming rights deal to cost Fresno State millions

Newly-released details behind the $10 million sponsorship deal with Valley Children’s Healthcare points to a loser for Fresno’s top university.

Fresno State’s naming rights deal with Valley Children’s for its football stadium is reportedly going to cost the university millions of dollars. 

One year ago, Fresno State announced a 10-year, $10 million agreement with Valley Children’s to rename the former Bulldog Stadium. 


As part of the agreement, however, Fresno State renegotiated its marketing deal with Learfield Sports, which will ultimately eat into the $10 million deal. 

McClatchy reported Friday that the deal between the university and the hospital included exclusivity rights that mostly prevents other healthcare providers from partnering with Fresno State on sponsorship opportunities. 

Fresno State has five years left in its deal with Learfield Sports and was set to earn $3,245,000 in 2021-2022. 

But the exclusivity deal, resulting in the reworked contract with Learfield Sports, dropped that amount to $2,695,000. 

The $550,000 loss is the lowest in the remainder of the Learfield Sports contract. 

The reworked contract will result in Fresno State losing $605,000 in 2022-2023, $665,500 in 2023-2024, $815,500 in 2024-2025 and $965,000 in 2025-2026. 

In total, the university will see a $3.6 million loss with the amended contract with Learfield Sports. 

To make up for some of the financial loss, the athletic department will receive an additional $1 million in operational support from the university in 2022-2023, the paper reported. 

Other fine print in the contract with Valley Children’s will also result in more expenses for the university. 

Fresno State agreed to pay for the production and installation of all of the Valley Children’s signage that has been installed in the stadium, as well as maintaining and repairing them. 

Valley Children’s will receive a premium tailgating spot in the Red Lot for football games. Fresno State agreed to pay for tents, tables, chairs and lighting. 

Valley Children’s will receive 200 tickets to each home game and a skybox suite that includes catering up to $1,500. 

The university is also giving the hospital round-trip airfare for four people on the team’s charter flight for road games, as well as covering the cost of four tickets. 

In the process, Fresno State President Saul Jimenez-Sandoval relinquished his suite for the Valley Children’s deal, saving the university the $35,000 to $40,000 cost of a suite per season. 

The exclusivity deal leaves room for Sierra Pacific Orthopedics – the school’s medical and training provider – to advertise. 

The Central California Blood Center, the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health, Pacific Dental Services and The Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens are also approved sponsors.

Despite the approved medical providers, some of the region’s biggest players – including Community Health System and St. Agnes Medical Center – are prevented from providing advertising.

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