The Houston Dynamo have worked since Day 1 to build a presence in the Houston community. The club took another step in tying itself to its hometown on Wednesday, officially announcing the naming rights deal for BBVA Compass Stadium.
“We were able to find a Houston corporate citizen that took this as what it is, a very important new step on how to build this facility without the taxpayers having to take a risk,” said AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke at Wednesday’s press conference.
BBVA Compass has a strong presence in the community, with 45 branches in Houston as well as one of their corporate headquarters located just miles away from the stadium. Its logo – which includes the Houston skyline – on the side of the city’s newest stadium creates one more link between them and the Houston community. That’s exactly what the Dynamo have targeted when seeking out corporate sponsors.
“You want to do business with people in your community,” said Dynamo president Chris Canetti. “You can look at our jersey sponsorship with Greenstar [Recycling], who is also Houston based. Those seem to be the best partnerships, where things can get accomplished and both partners can get the most return on their investment.”
BBVA is no stranger to the soccer world, having made a significant investment on the game’s global scale. It is the title sponsor of Spain's top division, aptly named LigaBBVA, and has sponsorships with some of the world’s top players including Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Casillas recorded a video message to welcome the Dynamo to the BBVA family on Wednesday.
With the deal, the company is bringing that global name to the Houston soccer landscape and furthering their work to complete the stadium project. It also helps the Dynamo fulfill a promise to their fans.
“[BBVA was] instrumental in us learning how to reach out to the Houston fans and fulfill the commitment we made when we first came here, which was that we were going to get you a new stadium,” Leiweke said. “And [we’ll] make sure it’s one of the finest places for Major League Soccer in Canada or the United States.”
With the naming rights deal complete and construction progressing well, the Dynamo are well on their way to keeping that promise. The fact that they cleared it with a corporation that embraces the game and has a large stake in the community makes this a complete win for the club.
“It really helps things come together when you get a great partner like BBVA to come in and actually back the stadium as well as the club and City of Houston,” said midfielder Colin Clark.
The stadium is scheduled to host its first game on May 12, 2012.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com