A rendering of the new signage at Albertsons Stadium, which will be installed by Sept. 6 for the first home game of Boise State Broncos Football. (Photo by Boise State University)

The football stadium at Boise (Idaho) State University will be referred to as Albertsons Stadium for the next 15 years in a $12.5-million naming rights deal. The Boise State University Broncos football team is Division I, NCAA.

Boise State University Athletic Director Mark Coyle said that the funds will go toward training areas for the student athletes as well as academic support units like computer labs.

The deal happened quickly. Though the university has been looking for a naming rights partner for several years, meetings with Albertsons initially began in January. Bronco Sports Properties, a property of Learfield Sports, secured and negotiated the deal.

“With Albertsons being a Boise-based business, a lot of the workers and employees at local stores are Boise State University alums, so it’s a perfect fit for them,” said Learfield Sports Sr. VP Tim Cline.

Boise State University Athletic Director Mark Coyle at the naming rights announcement. (Photo by Boise State University)

Not only is Albertsons based in the city, but the company has also sponsored the university for more than 20 years. In 1990, Albertsons donated $6 million toward an expansion of the Boise State University library, which was named the Albertsons Library and the Warren McCain Reading Room after renovations were complete.

“Albertsons has been ingrained in the fabric of Boise for a long time and so has Boise State,” said Cline. “Put those two together and I think it’s a home run.”

In a preexisting deal, the company also serves as the official grocer of Boise State Athletics. That agreement allows Albertsons to use the university’s marketing materials and logos for in-store advertising.

“When you name a stadium that has a lot of history and tradition, you want to find a naming partner that would be comfortable for everyone,” said Coyle. “Albertsons has a presence with our library and has a history of giving and being part of the community.”

A rendering of the proposed signage for the west entry at Albertsons Stadium. (Photo by Boise State University)

The sponsorship opportunity came at a great time for Albertsons, which celebrates a big anniversary this year.

“Albertsons has chosen to link our name with Boise State because we admire and share their commitment to the values of becoming part of the community, integrity, hard work, developing leadership and continuous learning and improvement,” said Bob Miller, CEO of Albertsons LLC, in a statement. “This July marks our 75th year as a company and growing our partnership with Boise State is a wonderful way to celebrate that accomplishment and extend our reach as the Official Grocer of Boise State Athletics.”

The university and grocer are now working on finalizing designs for signage, which will be put up in time for Boise State University Broncos Football’s first home game Sept. 6 against Colorado State. Albertsons and Boise State University will split signage costs equally.

Cline pointed out that the increase of digital signage within the facility should ease the conversion and allow for greater flexibility. Albertsons Stadium has a digital LED ribbon board that runs 100-yards on each side of the stadium, and also added a brand new Daktronics video board with a screen measuring about 37 feet by 59 feet last season.

“The digital signage allows you to change your messaging easily,” said Cline. “A company like Albertsons may be changing their message on a weekly or monthly basis.”

He added that Albertsons also receives a suite as part of the naming rights deal.

Boise State University’s basketball venue, Taco Bell Arena, finalized its $4-million, 15-year naming rights contract in 2004. Though Coyle wasn’t working at the university at the time, he said that several factors could have contributed to the increased monetary value for the football stadium. Not only is the capacity much larger measuring 32,000 compared to Taco Bell Arena’s 12,644 seats, but the football stadium also boasts its iconic blue AstroTurf field that brings national recognition and was first installed in 1986.

The team itself brings increased notoriety and exposure. Boise Broncos led wins in the BCS era and are third-winningest Division 1 team of all time. They are in the Mountain West Conference, which has a partnership with ESPN to have every game shown on the ESPN family of networks.

“The television deal gives us increased flexibility,” said Coyle. “That’s not only added exposure for our team and university but, now, also for Albertsons.”

Interviewed for this story: Tim Cline, (469) 241-9191; Mark Coyle, (208) 426-1515