One of the familiar names associated with North Texas athletics will soon be relegated to history.
UNT’s football venue has been known as Apogee Stadium since it opened in 2011.
UNT athletic director Jared Mosley confirmed to the Denton Record-Chronicle on Tuesday that the school is well into the process of finding a new naming rights partner after Apogee, an Austin-based company that specializes in technology services for higher education, opted out of its 20-year, $20 million naming rights agreement.
Apogee billed itself as the nation’s largest provider of residential networking services in higher education when it purchased the naming rights for the stadium in the months before it opened.
“Apogee had an interest in campus that served them well,” Mosley said. “They felt like it was time to look at something different. Now we will have an opportunity to see what the market will bear.
“We feel fairly good about the valuation for the stadium with where it is located on the I-35 corridor.”
UNT has been working with Independent Sports & Entertainment as it looks for a new naming rights partner for the stadium that sits at the juncture of the East and West branches of Interstate 35. ISE specializes in working with universities on naming rights deals.
The company helped Washington State reach a 10-year naming rights deal with Gesa Credit Union for the playing field at Martin Stadium in 2021 that will guarantee the school at least $11 million.
Vanderbilt also worked with ISE before it secured a 10-year naming rights deal with FirstBank for its football stadium last year. Terms of that deal were not disclosed.
UNT officials are confident they will be able to secure a lucrative naming rights agreement for the school’s 30,850-seat stadium, which cost $78 million.
UNT is in the market for a new naming rights sponsor at a key time in program history. The school is leaving Conference USA this summer to join the American Athletic Conference. SMU, Memphis, Tulane and Tulsa are just a few of the other schools that will be members of the American’s new lineup.
The American reached a 12-year media rights agreement with ESPN beginning in the 2020-21 school year. That agreement will add to the exposure UNT will receive, making the naming rights to Apogee more attractive.
“We feel like with the change in opponents we will be facing and the television package, there is going to be a different level of visibility for a potential partner that we didn’t have before,” Mosley said. “The timing coincides pretty well.”
UNT’s agreement with Apogee has been valuable for the school. The company started working with UNT in a business capacity in 2008, long before the school opened its stadium, which replaced Fouts Field.
UNT’s deal with Apogee was the second-largest naming rights agreement for a college football stadium at the time it was struck, according to the school.
UNT receives a portion of the $1 million per year from the deal in cash. The rest of the agreement involves in-kind networking services.
UNT’s deal with Apogee included three opportunities for either side to opt out of the contract. Apogee used the second to terminate the deal.
Apogee officials had not responded by Wednesday afternoon to a message seeking comment.
Funds from the deal and the foundation Apogee gives UNT’s football program have helped move the school’s athletics program forward.
The Mean Green have played in seven bowl games in addition to appearing in the Conference USA championship game twice since Apogee opened. UNT has played in just 14 bowl games in program history.
New head coach Eric Morris named UNT’s facilities, including Apogee Stadium, as one of the reasons he was interested in taking over the school’s football program.
UNT will need time to change out the signage at Apogee and prepare the venue for a new era once it finds a new naming rights partner. The transition is one school officials hope to begin soon.
“We won’t rush,” Mosley said. “We want someone who is a good long-term partner. We know we need to get this wrapped up in the next several months.”
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