Sources: Colorado State gets lucrative naming-rights deal for football stadium

Colorado State’s 1-year-old football stadium will have a new name when the 2018 season kicks off, thanks to a lucrative naming-rights deal the school is announcing Thursday, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Public Service Credit Union is paying CSU $37.7 million for a 15-year agreement, although a formal new name for the stadium will not be announced Thursday. That funding, combined with an anonymous $20 million pledge two years ago to name the field after former coach Sonny Lubick, puts CSU’s combined total naming rights income among the largest in college football. USC has a $69 million deal with United Airlines for the naming rights to Memorial Coliseum. Washington has a $41 million agreement with Alaska Airlines for Husky Stadium.

The playing field will continue to be named after Lubick, the winningest coach in school history who also serves as vice president for community outreach at Public Service Credit Union. Lubick won 108 games across 15 seasons at CSU, from 1993-2007, taking the Rams to nine bowl games and claiming six conference titles.

A member of the Mountain West Conference, CSU’s $225 million on-campus stadium project was part of an ambitious run at inclusion among NCAA Division I’s Power Five conferences. CSU was among the schools considered by the Big 12 in 2016 before the league opted against expansion. If future expansion opportunities arise, the Rams have at least improved their positioning with the new facility.

The stadium project was greeted with skepticism from some in Colorado, but the school managed to complete it without state funding or student fees. Bringing in nearly $58 million in naming rights goes a long way toward paying off the cost of the project, and the school is hoping that last year’s uptick in attendance continues going forward.

CSU had per-game average attendance of of 32,062 in 2017, a 16 percent increase from 2016 that was the eighth-largest jump in the nation. Part of the plan for keeping attendance strong is scheduling home-and-home series with Power Five opponents.

Sonny Lubick Field opened last season with a 58-27 victory over the Pac-12’s Oregon State in front of 37,583 fans, CSU’s third-largest home attendance in school history. Future schedules will continue to feature home games against Power Five opposition, including a date with Arkansas this season and games against Vanderbilt, Texas Tech and Washington State in the years to come. CSU also has an annual game in Denver against in-state rival Colorado.

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