Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals announce University of Phoenix ending stadium naming-rights partnership

The Arizona Cardinals are looking for a new naming-rights partner for their stadium.

The team announced Tuesday that the University of Phoenix wants to ends its 20-year sponsorship with about nine years remaining on the contract.

The University of Phoenix won the naming-rights in 2006. The $154.5 million deal paid the Cardinals an average of $7.7 million per year.

Apollo Education Group, the parent company for the University of Phoenix, has been hit with declining enrollment and regulatory scrutiny in recent years.

According to the release, University of Phoenix wanted to use their marketing resources elsewhere aside from paying for the naming rights on a stadium.

“Like many organizations, University of Phoenix is constantly evaluating and updating our public-facing initiatives and partnerships — and this includes reviewing our marketing strategy,” said Joan Blackwood, the chief marketing officer for University of Phoenix. “As the University further increases its focus on improving student retention, graduation rates, and employment-related outcomes and has less of an emphasis on growth, we’ve identified areas to realign our marketing policies accordingly. Notwithstanding, the tremendous value the University has received from its strategic partnership with the Arizona Cardinals, we have determined it’s best to evolve our partnership and shift away from stadium naming rights going forward.”

Ron Minegar, the Cardinals’ executive vice president and chief operating officer, said talks already are underway with a potential new naming rights partner and that the University of Phoenix will keep its name on the stadium until a new sponsor is found.

“We have had very productive outreach with a number of interested parties,” Minegar said. “We anticipate that will continue and are finding this is an increasingly attractive asset. For the time being, University of Phoenix will continue to be our naming rights partner as we look to secure the type of strong brand alignment that we have enjoyed with the University since 2006.”

University of Phoenix Stadium has hosted two Super Bowls, a Final Four, a College Football Playoff championship game and semifinal, a BCS national championship game as well as multiple Fiesta Bowls, international soccer matches, WrestleMania, concerts and high school football championships.

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