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War Memorial Stadium Commission, AT&T Sign Naming Rights Pact for Surface of Historic Stadium

The War Memorial Stadium Commission announced today that it had reached a sponsorship agreement with AT&T to name the playing surface “AT&T Field.”
LITTLE ROCK, ARK., June 23, 2010 – The War Memorial Stadium Commission announced today that it had reached a sponsorship agreement with AT&T to name the playing surface “AT&T Field.” The new name and on-field emblems were revealed today during a news conference hosted by the commission at War Memorial Stadium.

War Memorial Stadium, constructed in 1948 to honor Arkansans who gave their lives in service of the country in World Wars I and II, retains its name and continues to be a tribute to all Arkansans who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“As members of the War Memorial Stadium Commission, our goal is to honor our veterans and our citizens by providing a first-class venue for sports, concerts and other events,” said Stadium Commission Chairman Gary Smith. “This partnership with AT&T -- one of the world’s most respected and recognized brands -- will enable us to attain that standard of excellence for years to come.”

“AT&T is honored for the opportunity to have our name on the field in War Memorial Stadium,” said AT&T Arkansas State President Ed Drilling. “This is a place where I and many of our employees and their families have cheered on our favorite sports teams and entertainers since childhood, and to be able to be a partner in its future is a genuine source of pride. We know many more memories will be made on that field for years to come.”

While a sponsorship of stadiums and facilities is becoming more common across the nation, this is the first time the field at War Memorial Stadium has been separately named. Under the agreement between the commission and AT&T, the field will be known at AT&T Field for at least five years; in addition to on-field emblems, new AT&T signage will be installed inside the stadium this summer.

With funding from the state, sponsorships, contributions and operations revenue, the War Memorial Stadium Commission has been able to make many renovations and improvements in recent years. Those have included new field turf, a new press and club seating facility, new digital video scoreboards, a new digital sound system, and upgrades to the interior concourses, lighting and stadium exterior.

Upcoming events to be hosted by War Memorial include University of Arkansas Razorback football games against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 11 and Louisiana State University on Nov. 27, and the Delta Classic featuring the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Grambling State University on Oct. 30, plus numerous high school football games and state playoffs.

“As one of 257,625 veterans in Arkansas, we have proudly witnessed the rejuvenation of War Memorial Stadium, and we appreciate the commitment of the state, the commissioners and supporters to modernize and upgrade this historic facility,” said David Fletcher, Director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs.

In conjunction with today’s announcement of the War Memorial Stadium sponsorship, AT&T also said the company is creating a new scholarship program to honor Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from Arkansas. Details on the program and eligibility requirements will be announced in time to award the first scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year.

“AT&T will work with the War Memorial Stadium Commission, the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Arkansas Community Foundation to pay tribute to these Arkansas heroes by helping state students achieve their dream of a higher education,” Drilling said.

Statement by Gary Smith

The War Memorial Stadium Commission and AT&T fully respect the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. AT&T requested that we deem the terms of the agreement confidential to the extent allowed by the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. AT&T competes for sponsorship opportunities throughout the nation and in its highly competitive marketing landscape, it is not uncommon for a corporation to make such a request. However, today AT&T relinquished its right so that the following announcement could be made.

The recently announced AT&T agreement for sponsorship is worth over $1.8 million ($1,817,854) if AT&T exercises its option for the full ten-year agreement. The initial term is for five years with one five-year renewal option. During that term $875,000 will be paid to the stadium, or $175,000 per year. The subsequent five-year period includes 2.5% annual increases starting at $179,375 in year six and ending at $197,996 in year ten.

This represents the largest single sponsorship in the 62-year history of War Memorial Stadium. It includes interior and exterior signage and the name being inlayed on the field. In these difficult financial times, it is remarkable that a company would help us to this extent.

We are deeply grateful to AT&T for this sponsorship and all that it means for the future of War Memorial Stadium. We salute their exemplary display of community involvement and leadership.

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