Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise Columbus Crew has signed locally-based fintech company Lower as its stadium naming rights partner, as the club prepares to play its first game at its new home.
The multi-year deal, reported by SportsBusiness Journal to be worth between $3m (£2.12m/€2.47m) and $4m per year, will result in the stadium being named Lower.com Field. The venue is set to open its gates at a full capacity of 20,011 on July 3, when the Crew hosts the New England Revolution.
Columbus-based Lower specialises in the home financing market and was only founded in 2018. Lower CEO Dan Snyder said: “We have nearly 1,000 local team members, have funded billions in loans, and have been named the top workplace in Columbus, and yet, we’re still relatively unknown as a company.
“So, this partnership, to some extent, is the coming out party for our brand. Very few companies ever get to name a stadium, let alone a brand new one, in their hometown. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Lower will collaborate with the Crew on several community-based initiatives as a focal point throughout the partnership. Lower becomes the presenting partner to the Crew’s Mini-Pitch Project. The Mini-Pitch Project is a field development project that aims to provide local youth in underserved communities with the opportunity to play soccer in safe and fun environments.
On matchdays, for each goal scored by the Crew, Lower will donate $1,000 to Healthy Homes, a non-profit housing organisation. On top of the charitable donation, there will be a second goal-based opportunity, which benefits Crew fans. For each goal scored in the regular season, team supporters will unlock $500 toward their home financing, up to $1,500.
Lower also becomes an associate partner to Give Forward, a platform of the Columbus Crew Foundation that serves challenged youth. Columbus Crew executive vice-president and chief business officer, Steve Lyons, said: “It was critical for us to find a like-minded company, Columbus-based, and committed to our community.
“At the same time, Lower’s bold, upward trajectory reflects the direction of the Crew and the personality of Lower Field. As a leading innovative technological company, they focus on creating world-class customer experiences and their core mission of making home ownership more accessible is impactful for our fans.”
Lyons continued: “As we prepare to open Lower.com Field, we are excited that this stadium will represent our players, club and city on a national and international stage through events such as Campeones Cup later this summer and potential U.S. Soccer matches in the future. The ability to host high-profile events of this magnitude provides incredible exposure to the club, the city and our partners through the global game of soccer.”
The Crew also announced yesterday (Tuesday) that the second largest supporters section in MLS, the 3,364-capacity Nordecke has now officially sold out. While the Nordecke, and as previously announced, all premium club, suites and loge boxes at Lower.com Field have sold out for the current season, limited general seating 2021 season tickets are still available at a pro-rated price.
As part of the partnership, Lower is also the entitlement partner to the East Field Club, which is set to be named the Lower.com Lounge. The lounge is the premier space within Lower.com Field and is inclusive of 10 private field-level suites and 120 field seats.
The new $313.9m stadium includes seats that are as much as 28 feet closer to the pitch than any of the seats at the club’s current home, Historic Crew Stadium. Additionally, the incline is steeper, providing improved sightlines for supporters in every part of the venue. A defining feature of the stadium is a 220,000 square-foot canopy that will cover all supporters during the match.
The premium spaces at the new home of the Crew are among the highest-end premium experiences in MLS and include Ledge Seats which hang over the lower bowl. Upon arrival to the southeast entrance of Lower.com Field, supporters will be able to walk up to and congregate in a 62,000 square-foot public plaza featuring a large, outdoor 14-feet by 24-feet video screen.
Supporters can then walk across the plaza to the Pub Restaurant and Crew Shop, which will be open on non-matchdays. The concession stands at the venue are also set to feature several local food and beverage options.
In March, the Crew revealed further details for the mixed-use neighbourhood which will sit adjacent to its new stadium, Astor Park, with its name designed to pay tribute to the origins of the sport in America.
Images: Columbus Crew