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Florida Football Stadium named after private prison company

By Mason White 1:06 PM February 20, 2013
GEO Group stadium 

By: Debbie Gross
(Scroll down for video) One of the largest for-profit prison companies won the right to name a new sports stadium, according to press reports in Florida.

For over two years, Florida Atlantic University has been looking for a corporate sponsor to name their new 30,000 seat football stadium.

The public university announced that the nation’s second largest operator of for-profit prisons, GEO Group Inc., will name the stadium, as part of a $6 million payment from the company‚Äôs charitable foundation, which is payable to Florida Atlantic over 12 years.

The United States has a long tradition of corporate sponsorships for stadiums, like the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland and Enron Field in Houston. But GEO Group Stadium puzzled experienced experts in sports marketing.

Stadium Sponsorships usually involve a product that a company wants to sell to consumers, like cars, in the case of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, or banking, with Citi Field in New York. GEO Group clients are government agencies that offer contracts. Prisoners have no choice of where to land behind bars.

“It seems to be a charity that is trying to market and that does not make much sense,” Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon School of Business, said. “To link yourself to a sports stadium, when your business is locking people up is simply does not connect very well,” he added.