MAINT STREET: Super Bowl Drama Overshadows the Naming Rights Deal by a For-Profit College

Career College Central Summary:

  • Beyond the spectacle of the Super Bowl is the little-known naming rights deal hiding in plain sight on the side of the building where the game was played. In 2006 the University of Phoenix, a for-profit college owned by the Apollo Group Inc., paid $154.5 for the naming-rights to the stadium in a deal that runs for 20 years. Two years later the University of Phoenix’s name was on the nation's flat screen TVs as it played host to the 2008 Super Bowl. It was back again yesterday.
  • The stadium is owned by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which contributed $298 million to a public/private financing hybrid construction, with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals adding $147 million.
  • The stadium is actually located in Glendale, Ariz. The University of Phoenix itself does not have a traditional campus or any sports teams. Most instruction takes place on the Internet or at one of its 130 “learning centers” in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were about 308,000 students enrolled as of 2011. The naming-right deal has raised the ire of student advocates who criticize the for-profit college for its high drop-out rate while students funnel money to the school in the form of federal and private student loans.
  • Last year, the Department of Education’s inspector general demanded records from the University of Phoenix and the Apollo group going back to 2007 that related to marketing, recruitment, enrollment, financial aid, fraud prevention and student retention.

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