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After two months of wrangling to keep their stadium naming rights deal under wraps, Utah State University and Maverik Inc. released the full contract on Tuesday.
Maverik officials provided the Tribune a copy of the 22-year, $6.3 million arrangement, which allows the Aggies to complete a long-desired upgrade to the stadium and puts Maverik's name throughout the facility.
The move marks a dramatic reversal from when the university and the chain of convenience/fuel stores, challenged by an open records request from the Logan Herald Journal, defended their right to business confidentiality in a hearing before the state records committee. After the committee ordered USU to release the contract in a 6-1 decision, the parties agreed to end the battle rather than fight the order in district court.
"We would rather help the public be in a position where they wouldn't have to speculate," said David Hancock, a Maverik vice president and attorney. "The contract is as vanilla as it gets."
The deal lasts through the end of 2037, and Maverik will pay Utah State in quarterly installments for the next 18 years. In return, the stadium will bear Maverik's name, replacing, replacing former coach and athletic director Dick Romney on the marquee. Maverik also will have signage posted throughout the stadium, serve as the official convenience store and gas station of Utah State football while locking out competitors, operate a Bonfire Grill in the stadium concession area, and reserve hospitality rights including 20 tickets to each home game.
The contract helps fund Utah State's stadium renovation, which is estimated to cost $36 million as the Aggies build a new press box tower and add suites and concourse improvements.
"This agreement is a catalyst for Utah State's stadium renovation initiative, ensuring the already promising future of Aggie football," USU spokesman Eric Warren said in a statement. "As the agreement demonstrates, our relationship with Maverik is a win for Utah State, our students and student athletes, and fans. We look forward to many Aggie wins within Maverik Stadium."
Maverik asked USU to keep the contract confidential in the hope their marketing strategy and the rates they're willing to pay for media would be protected. The contract also cites the company's competitors (who won't be granted sponsorship rights under the terms of the deal) including 7-Eleven, Chevron and Sinclair.
In the end, the company decided to give up the fight for the same reason it made the deal in the first place: to earn goodwill in Logan.
Maverik vice president Aaron Simpson said that former USU athletic director Scott Barnes approached the company months ago to see if they were willing to hammer out a naming rights agreement. Maverik recently remodeled stores in Logan and is building more in Cache Valley, so company officials felt it would be a good opportunity to increase the company's visibility in the area. It also puts Maverik food in the stadium, where hungry fans might be more willing to give it a try.
"We've supported all the local football programs, and we feel Utah State is a good partner for us," Simpson said. "We saw it as an opportunity to better ourselves in the community."
It's also an opportunity to put its name out in the community: on signs, the stadium video board, the university's website, concession cups, tailgates and potentially stadium employee uniforms.
Utah State-Maverik contract highlights
• Maverik pays USU $6.3 million over the course of the deal.
• Agreement lasts through 2037.
• Maverik is the official gas station and convenience store of Utah State football, and its competitors won't be USU football sponsors.
• Bonfire Grill selling Maverik food will be in stadium concession area.
• Signage on west and south sides of stadium; south scoreboard; video board; and on traffic signs leading into stadium.
• Maverik gets 20 home tickets as a part of its hospitality benefits.