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State Oversight on Florida College Arena Naming Rights Debated


Florida lawmakers are debating whether corporate arena naming-rights deals involving public colleges and universities should be subject to legislative approval, as some believe more oversight is needed.

On Wednesday, the issue of whether the state legislature should be involved in naming-rights deals was discussed by the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee. If more oversight were to be instituted, the idea would be to require the state’s public colleges and universities to seek legislative approval before finalizing naming-rights agreements with corporate sponsors that cover the naming of certain facilities, including arenas.

No law has been implemented to this effect, though some lawmakers contend that naming-rights partnerships involving corporate sponsors for these facilities should go through a similar approval process as other public buildings. More from the AP:

College officials on Wednesday came under sharp questioning by a House education panel looking into curbing the practice.

Rep. Randy Fine, the chair of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, questioned the practice.

“We’re not talking about philanthropic motivations,” Fine said. “We’re not talking about donors. We are not talking about people who are trying to do the right thing. We are talking about commercial identity, business transactions that are driven by a desire for marketing.”

Fine noted that legislative action is typically required for many public buildings. “To make sure our institutions are acting in concert with our elected leaders. It makes sense to have them run through the same process,” he said.

Around Florida, there are several public colleges and universities that have existing partnerships with corporations that cover naming rights to their arenas. Just last month, the Florida Atlantic University Athletic Department and announced a partnership that included the renaming of the school’s basketball and volleyball venue to Arena. That is part of a sponsorship packages that calls for FAU to receive $5 million over 10 years.

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