THE OAKLAND-Alameda County Coliseum Authority has been searching for a corporate naming sponsor for Oakland's sports stadium since 2008 when McAfee declined to renew its deal under similar terms.
Finally, the authority, which oversees the Coliseum and Oracle Arena, found a sponsor. It announced that it had granted naming rights to Overstock.com that could earn $1.2 million a year for the next six years. It includes a 3 percent increase each year, which would bring the total value of the contract to $7.5 million. The city of Oakland and Alameda County will split revenues with the Raiders.
The deal does not affect Oracle Arena, home to the Golden State Warriors, which will keep its name.
Overstock.com, based in Utah, is an online retailer best known for selling surplus goods from companies going out of business as well as other items -- at a deep discount. Some critics of the deal would say the same thing about this deal. Overstock.com scored with a deep discount. We understand there are better deals out there -- 10 NFL stadium deals carry price tags of $75 million or more and Farmers Insurance just signed a $650 million, 30-year deal for a stadium that hasn't even been built yet in Los Angeles, with no team guaranteed.
But what the authority did was buy some time for events to play out. Alameda County residents should be happy that the Coliseum had finally landed a corporate sponsor given both the city of Oakland and the county's dire finances. Both city and county officials are grappling with major budget shortfalls that have necessitated painful cuts. So some revenue is better than none.
It's not as though revenues are easy to come by during the current economic climate. This is a fortuitous deal especially given that no one knows how long the A's or Raiders will stick around. Both team owners have been vocal about their desire to leave. In fact, we have advocated for a new waterfront ballpark to entice the A's from moving to San Jose, and we assume a good corporate naming rights deal would soon follow. The Raiders, who knows? The leases for both teams expire in 2013.
Included in the contract is a caveat that if either team leaves the stadium, the authority's payments will get cut by 35 percent, but the downside is Overstock.com can opt out of the deal if either the A's or Raiders depart. Overstock.com will also get a reduction in the event of a players strike or work stoppage.
Oakland City Council member Ignacio de La Fuente, president of the authority, praised the deal.
It's not great, but it's not bad under a cloud of uncertainty.
While many companies want no part of Oakland because of its negative national reputation for violent crime, Overstock.com is proud to have its name over the Coliseum.
Yet some malcontents have been complaining that Overstock.com is too, well, low brow to lend its name to the sports stadium.
Excuse us, but we don't exactly see any other takers beating down the doors.
Overstock.com is a respectable company that has done well as an Internet pioneer. The city and county need all the honest money they can come by.
Besides, no matter how many name changes the sports stadium goes through, if the past is any indication, people are just going to call it the Coliseum anyway.