Business names may soon adorn three of Palm Beach County’s most prominent high school football stadiums.
Hoping for an extra influx of cash, Palm Beach County public schools leaders announced Thursday that they are selling naming rights to the stadiums at Atlantic High in Delray Beach, Palm Beach Lakes High in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Central High in Wellington.
The prospective five-year deals are expected to bring in between $150,000 and $175,000 a year each. The district would keep 65 percent of the money, while the advertising agency arranging the deals, Tebo and Associates of York, Pa., would keep 35 percent.
“The students will ultimately be the ones who benefit both in the classroom and on the field,” Schools Superintendent Donald Fennoy said in a statement.
No timeline is set for when stadiums might be renamed, but the district said in a news release that “the goal is to begin naming stadiums this football season.”
Each high school would keep some of the windfall, while an unspecified portion would be shared among other schools, a school district spokeswoman said.
The initiative is starting with just three schools but is expected to expand to others.
It’s not the first time the area’s public schools have sold naming rights to their athletic facilities.
In 2004, Park Vista High named its football stadium G.L. Homes Stadium in exchange for $150,000 from the home-building company.
In 1998, Royal Palm Beach High agreed to name its stadium Palms West Hospital Community Stadium for $100,000. Other schools have made similar arrangements over the years.
Placing company names on high school stadiums sometimes raises complaints that they commercialize public institutions. But such deals appear to have become more common in recent years in the wake of the Great Recession.
Tebo and Associates has negotiated naming-rights deals for public schools in Lee and Orange counties in recent years, along with schools in other parts of the country.
The school district’s naming rights initiative comes in a year when it is unusually flush with cash, thanks largely to a pair of countywide tax increases approved by voters in 2016 and 2018.
But officials say naming rights give schools a way to leverage a valuable asset: physical and social prominence in their regions.
“Right now it’s just an initial outreach to make organizations aware that the district is interested in supporting public education,” said Jimmy Peterkin, the district’s business and community partnership liaison.
The three initial schools were chosen based on high attendance in their stadiums and their location along major roads, said Brian Siatowski, managing partner of Tebo and Associates.
The company is asking for $173,200 a year for naming rights at Atlantic High, $151,610 at Palm Beach Central High and $152,763 at Palm Beach Lakes High.
Sponsors get to put up their own signage at the stadium – at their own expense – and have the stadium’s sponsored name read aloud at every athletic event in the venue, he said.
Some businesses are interested in naming rights partially for philanthropic reasons while others see it strictly as a marketing opportunity, Siatowski said.
“If you want to stake your business in the community, there’s nothing really that compares to it,” he said. “It’s a big difference in feel than just buying billboards. You get that visceral connection. You get that engagement with the community.”