Mountain West Open To Private Equity, Naming Rights For Conference

Jun 15, 2024, 1:54 PM


The Mountain West logo on a curtain before a semifinal game of the Mountain West basketball tournament between the Utah State Aggies and the San Diego State Aztecs at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 15, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – College football is in a unique spot with leagues and teams now looking to add extra income as a result of the House vs. NCAA case which is nearly finalized.

Mountain West open to Private Equity & Naming Rights

This historic case will allow schools to pay their student-athletes approximately $21 million per year. This means that conferences and schools need to find an infusion of money.

Enter private equity and conference-named sponsorships. It has been reported that the Big 12 Conference is looking for a naming rights sponsor for the league with Allstate as the potential partner. Plus, the Big 12 is working with CVC Capital Partners to provide the conference between $800 million and upwards of $1 billion in exchange for 15-20% of a stake in the league.

The Big 12 is chasing the Big Ten and SEC for money and trying to close that gap. The difference between non-power conferences and the lower power leagues has an even wider gap.

Mountain West commissioner Gloria Nevarez joined JJ & Alex on the KSL Sports Zone to discuss how her league looks to bring extra revenue to the conference.

Options include league naming rights and talking with private equity firms to bring in an influx of cash.

“We are looking at everything and we are not as far down the line as the Big 12,” Nevarez said.

Nevarez was with the Pac-12 when that conference considered working with private equity firms.

“I was at the Pac-12 when the prospect of private equity was brought to the board. At that time there wasn’t an appetite for it but certainly times have changed,” Nevarez added. “That will certainly be a gateway to how folks think of private equity with college sports.

“I do not claim to be an expert in private equity, but what I’ve gleaned so far is an influx of cash in exchange for payback against your future media rights and future revenue is the common model.”

The Mountain West will not be getting anything close to the reported $30 to $50 million that is on the table for the Big 12 with a naming rights deal. A naming rights deal will bring in extra revenue that does not have any overhead cost attached to it.

As for private equity, that is a bit more complicated. However, if done properly, it could work out for both parties to make money.

Nevarez doesn’t need her league to keep pace monetarily with the power conferences but rather stay ahead of their peers in Conference USA, the Sun Belt, the American, and the MAC. This potential influx of money is the way to do that.

Tune into JJ & Alex every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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Mountain West Open To Private Equity, Naming Rights For Conference