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United Airlines Naming Rights Image Rehab?

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The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Photo: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

It is a busy time in the Los Angeles area football stadium business. Los Angeles Rams ownership has announced that the plan to open an Inglewood stadium in 2019 has been shelved because of an abundant amount of much needed rain fall during the winter months and that construction has been delayed. The stadium is now scheduled to be opened in 2020. There is no word on how Inglewood is going to replace various tax revenues from at least 19 NFL games and other events scheduled for 2019 in the place.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is the home to the University of Southern California football team and is providing a temporary stayover for Stan Kroenke’s NFL Rams, is getting a corporate sponsor. United Airlines.

Although the deal between USC and the public relations troubled airline has not been officially signed. United Airlines may be paying $70 million over a 15-year period for the right to put the company’s name and logo on the 94-year old stadium. USC has been searching for a partner since 2015 when the university entered into a marketing partnership with Rupert Murdoch’s FOX Sports. Murdoch’s company had a few restrictions placed on it by USC. The school could say no to any potential partner.

USC seemingly has no problem with United Airlines despite massive public relations problems that included physically removing and injuring a 69-year-old man from a flight because of the airline industry’s practice of overbooking. United reached an agreement with the man paying money to him to make the incident disappear. The Memorial Coliseum name had to be worked into whatever the place is called. The state of California will get 5 percent of the naming rights revenue. USC is renovating the old stadium. This could be a vanity buy for United as beleaguered CEO Oscar Munoz graduated from USC.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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