Hartford Athletic is shopping naming rights to Dillon Stadium, hoping to land a partnership the gives the club a new revenue source.
Athletic owner Hartford Sports Group, led by chairman and co-founder Bruce Mandell, is to receive revenue from any sale of stadium naming rights as part of a 2018 agreement reached with the city and Capital Region Development Authority. The club began play at the revitalized Dillon Stadium last summer without a naming-rights sponsorship in place, but it is exploring that possibility for the future.
As part of this process, Hartford Sports Group tabbed consultant IEG to provide an estimated value of naming rights to Dillon Stadium and other sports venues in the Northeast. Should a deal come into place, the sale of Dillon Stadium naming rights would provide a boost in revenue to the club, which is aiming to achieve profitability by 2022. There is not a finalized agreement in place at this time, though the Athletic is hoping to have a stadium naming-rights deal by the end of this year. More from Hartford Business Journal:
A consultancy that specializes in calculating sponsorship opportunities recently valued the stadium’s naming rights at $432,000 a year.
That level of annual funding would be a major haul for the startup franchise, which fell shy of its attendance goals during its inaugural season and generates a third of its revenue from sponsorships, according to Mandell, who is also CEO and owner of Newington direct-mail company Data-Mail Inc.
A potential naming-rights deal, which Mandell hopes to ink by year-end, is also crucial because the franchise has forecasted that revenue in future budgets.
“It needs to get done, this is built into our plan,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s extremely significant in terms of building stability into the operation side of a club. It’s the kind of boost that allows you to do more for your fans, improve the overall experience and add to the stadium.”
Dillon Stadium was originally built in 1935 under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, but its condition had fallen on hard times before it was revitalized as part of a roughly $14-million renovation to host Athletic matches and other events. The Athletic began play in Division II USL Championship an expansion team last season, and made its Dillon Stadium debut in July.
Image courtesy Hartford Athletic.