A rendering of Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NFL Tennessee Titans and Nissan North America reached a 20-year exclusive naming rights agreement at the end of June, officially changing the name of the stadium from LP Field to Nissan Stadium.
Nissan Stadium, with a seating capacity of 68,798, is owned by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and is located along the east banks of the Cumberland River directly across from downtown Nashville.
The naming rights agreement includes the opportunity for Nissan branding on the exterior of the stadium, as well as stadium signage and other unique displays inside the stadium.
No information about what Nissan is paying for the naming rights was disclosed. “Financial information is not something we share,” said Dan Bedore, Product Communications, Nissan North America.
Money figures weren't released by the Titans or from Nashville Mayor Karl Dean's office.
Bonna Delacruz Johnson, communications director and press secretary for the Nashville mayor, said the mayor's office did not participate in the agreement between the Titans and Nissan North America.
Nissan's Bedore said: “Our agreement with the Titans is pretty straightforward. We will have the signage opportunties and we look to activate in other ways. We haven't explored all our opportunities.”
Construction on new Nissan signage was expected to begin within weeks of the announcement.
“We are still working on what visual impact we will have,” Bedore said.
Directionally, Nissan branding plans to be up front, high and center. A rendering of that signage has been released. The company also plans interior signage to include the end zone corners.
“We also are still working on a logo for the stadium,” Bedore said.
Jimmy Stanton, vice president, communications, Tennessee Titans Football Club, said Ralph Ockenfels, Titans vice president of marketing and broadcast and digital rights, took the lead in negotiations from a Titans perspective, working closely with an internal team from Nissan. The deal was managed by OMD and brokered by Optimum Sports.
Aside from the array of touch point signage, “activation and branding with Nissan through the stadium featuring Nissan colors and logo,” Stanton said Nissan will sponsor an annual charity event expected to generate more than $1 million over the life of the 20-year agreement.
Nissan Stadium will host all Titans home football games as well as all Tennessee State University football games, the Music City Bowl and a variety of concerts and numerous other events, including the annual CMA Music Festival and a U.S. Soccer match, which was played July 3.
During the official announcement on June 25 in Nashville, Nissan representatives said the partnership with the Titans marks a new marketing focus for the company, “fewer, bigger and better.”
Nissan is launching a new “Titan” truck line this year as well.
The Titans organization began play as the Houston Oilers in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League and joined the National Football Leage as part of the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The franchise relocated to Tennessee in 1997 and opened a downtown Nashville stadium in 1999.
The stadium was constructed with no naming rights agreement in place, however, in its first year of operation, there was an agreement inked between the Titans and Adelphia Business Solutions, a subsidiary of the larger Adelphia telecommunications company. That contract was for 15 years and cost Adelphia $30 million. The stadium became the Adelphia Coliseum from 1999 to 2002.
However, Adelphia missed a required payment and subsequently filed for bankruptcy in 2002. The naming rights contract was abandoned. For the next four years, the stadium was simply called The Coliseum.
In 2006, another naming rights agreement was inked between the Titans and Louisiana-Pacific, which paid $30 million over 10 years. The stadium's name was changed to LP Field.
After the announcement of the new agreement between the Titans and Nissan, an LP Building Products representative was quoted as saying that the company's association with the Titans and the NFL “has paid substantial dividends in strengthening our customer ties and driving sales at LP.”
The representative also said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed our relationship with the Tennessee Titans for nearly a decade and are looking to do so for years to come.”
LP Building Products will continue as a sponsor but not the naming partner.
Nissan, one of Middle Tennessee's largest employers, opened its auto assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn., in 1983 and moved its North American headquarters to Franklin, Tenn., in 2008.
It was reported that in 2014, the Smyrna plant employed more than 8,400 people and assembled more than 648,000 vehicles.
Interviewed for this story: Dan Bedore, (615) 725-5238; Jimmy Stanton, (615) 565-4003; Bonna Delacruz Johnson, (615) 862-6461.