Rendering of the proposed football stadium in Inglewood.

Rendering of the proposed football stadium in Inglewood.

The developers behind the forthcoming National Football League field in Inglewood have pegged American Airlines Inc. as the stadium's first corporate partner, as the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline doubles down on investment in Southern California.

At a press conference Tuesday, the LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park said American Airlines will be the exclusive naming rights partner for a 2.5-acre plaza at one of the stadium's main entrances.

The stadium is scheduled to play host to both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers beginning in the fall of 2020. Speaking at the press conference, Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff said the stadium's construction is 75% complete.

American Airlines and stadium officials declined to provide details on how much the company is paying for the naming rights privilege and for how long American Airlines' rights extend.

The companies and teams declined to answer questions over whether American Airlines or a separate sponsor would be paying for naming rights to the stadium overall. San Francisco-based lending company Social Finance Inc. was widely reported in May to have paid for stadium naming rights, but a LASED spokeswoman said there is no deal in place.

American Airlines’ investment comes less than one year after the airline announced it would spend $1.6 billion to remodel two terminals at Los Angeles International Airport. Company President Robert Isom touted the airport investment as “the largest ever in the company’s 93-year history,” adding that it would create 6,000 jobs in the L.A. area — adding to the company's current L.A. County workforce of 7,300.

There's mixed evidence on whether naming rights deals are lucrative for corporate brands. A study last decade by Temple University economist Michael Leeds found no economic gains — such as an increase in company stock price or sales — from naming rights deals. A separate study by University of Connecticut professor Assaf Eisdorfer concluded that the stock performance of corporate sponsors can increase if the company sponsors a winning team, which can trigger positive investor sentiment.

Media and entertainment reporter Matthew Blake can be reached at (323)556-8332 or mblake@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattpennyblake.

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