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How To Make Naming Rights Work for You

Tips on how to use naming rights properly to maximize donor appeal.
By Cynthia McMannon
Cynthia McMannon, CMAA, is the Assistant Executive Director of Finance and Human Resources at the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA).

Naming rights is the term used when, in exchange for a specific amount of money over a specific time frame, something (a building, stadium, classroom, locker room, etc.) is named after, or in honor of, a person, corporation, business, etc. For example, if a school district or high school receives a significant amount of money from "John Smith Company" to pay for the building or renovation of a football stadium, that stadium may be called "John Smith Memorial Stadium."

But, naming rights don't always involve money. Naming rights can be used as a way of honoring a long-time administrator, teacher, or even a long-time supporter of the school or district (sports- or education-wise).

Naming rights are primarily used in the highly visible and heavily used parts of buildings and/or fields. Sports-related areas may include plazas, auditoriums, locker rooms, diving platforms, basketball or tennis courts, a weight room, or a coach's office. To increase athletics-related naming rights, booster clubs may also consider the sponsorship of an individual athletic contest, such as a football or basketball game.

Booster clubs don't have to limit naming-rights options strictly to athletic areas. They should also consider special school events, programs, and other school or district facilities. Highly visible non-athletic areas include the cafeteria, library, computer labs, or perhaps an auditorium stage.

Ideas to think about:

Some risks groups should keep in mind:

McMannon has contributed several articles to, and has recently received her Master's certification in athletic administration. She may be reached at: is brought to you by a recognized and established name in the school athletics arena, MomentumMedia—publisher of Athletic Management, Coaching Management and Training & Conditioning magazines.