FAU's New Naming Rights

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

March 1, 2013

Two of the primary reasons companies buy stadium-naming rights are to increase awareness and drive sales. Since buying the entitlement at Florida Atlantic University’s new football stadium for $6 million over 12 years, Boca Raton-based GEO Group, an operator of for-profit prisons, has received almost universal criticism and demonstrated no plan to increase revenue.

The agreement is being categorized as a gift from GEO Group, whose founder is a FAU alumnus and former chair of the school’s Board of Trustees. FAU’s athletic department says it will use the money to balance its budget. While what amounts to an annual $2 million donation to the school is a noble gesture, GEO Group, as a publicly traded corporation, should have considered the impact this deal would have on its shareholders. Late-night talk shows have made a mockery of the sponsorship, and the powerful ACLU lobby has called on the school rescind the deal… Hardly the return on investment, or in this case, return on donation, GEO Group hoped for.

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