- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2011

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) - Rutgers University’s football stadium is getting a new name.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday that Rutgers has reached a deal with High Point Solutions for naming rights to the stadium. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the university’s athletic department has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday to announce the partnership.

High Point is based in Sparta, N.J., and supplies companies with information technology hardware and support.

The stadium announcement comes nearly a year after the university hired Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and IMG College to act as agents in making a deal for naming rights. BS&E, an affiliate of the New Jersey Nets, had already signed up High Point as an official sponsor of the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, scheduled to be the Nets’ home beginning next year.

Interviewed earlier at a golf outing Monday, Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti declined to identify the sponsor but said it “reflects some of the same values of our program at Rutgers.”

“Given the economic climate, which is challenging in everything people face nowadays, we’re thrilled to be able to get something done,” he added.

Rutgers Stadium received a makeover and expansion in time for the 2009 season and now seats more than 54,000. The expansion followed the transformation of Rutgers‘ football program from a Big East doormat into one that has gone to bowls in five of the last six seasons.

On Monday, Pernetti appeared to downplay a report by Bloomberg in 2008 that estimated the university could expect $1.5 million to $2 million per year from a naming rights deal. He didn’t provide details on the finished deal.

“I’m not sure where that expectation came from, but (2008) was before I was hired,” Pernetti said. “We did a whole evaluation of what we had. That took into account the number of events in the stadium, which is not a lot. Those were important pieces of the whole thing, but we never put out an expectation of what we thought we could get.”

The stadium hosts Rutgers‘ home games plus high school football playoff games and occasional NCAA lacrosse games. Last year it hosted fewer than 12 events.

The economic downturn of the last two-plus years may have affected naming rights deals but hasn’t kept sponsors out of the game, according to David Carter, a sports business professor at the University of Southern California.

“From a sponsor’s standpoint, I think the worst is behind us and people are getting used to the new normal,” Carter said. “Everybody understands now that you really have to scrutinize these deals, but they know they have to make these deals or they’re not going to be able to realize revenues from those properties.”


Associated Press writer David Porter contributed to this report from Newark.

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