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American Airlines signs on as sponsor for LA venue

Bloomberg

American Airlines will pay $90 million over 10 years to sponsor the new home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers, becoming the first official partner for billionaire Stan Kroenke’s new Los Angeles Stadium.

American Airlines agreed to sponsor the 2.5-acre space that serves as main entrance to the $5 billion Inglewood, California, stadium, which doesn’t have a naming-rights partner yet, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

American Airlines Plaza stands 10 stories high and has a capacity of about 15,000. It will be open to the public year-round, along with event days. The stadium is scheduled to open next year and host the 2022 Super Bowl. Neither the Rams, which Kroenke also owns, nor American would confirm financial terms of the deal.

Janelle Anderson, American’s vice president of global marketing, said the agreement marks her company’s continued investment in Los Angeles. The airline is the largest domestic and international carrier at Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX, with 19 percent of air traffic, she said.

“This shows how we think about L.A. as a hub for the future,” she said, noting that American embarked on a $1.6 billion upgrade of its terminals at LAX last year.

As part of the deal, Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines Group Inc. will become the official airline of the Rams and Chargers, and have prominent branding during games. American has been the Rams’ carrier since the team returned to Los Angeles from St. Louis in 2016.

American is no stranger to sports as a marketing tool. The airline has its name on the arenas that host the NBA’s Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks.

Jason Gannon, managing director of the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District, said talks on a deal began more than a year ago and that American’s ethos aligns with what’s being created at the stadium.

“The vision they share from a guest-experience perspective is similar to our vision,” he said. Gannon said he is looking to add “several” founding partners, without being specific.

VenuesNow reported in May that Social Finance Inc., a closely held online personal financial company known as SoFi, was nearing a 20-year deal to put its name on the new Los Angeles Stadium at a cost of $20 million annually. SoFi CEO Anthony Noto is the NFL’s former chief financial officer.

The Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District was represented by Legends Global Partnerships.