Stadium name changed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 10, 2003

The Troy State University Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution Friday afternoon that accepted a deal to rename the TSU football stadium. Under the terms of the 20-year contract signed Friday, the new name of the stadium will be Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.

In exchange, TSU will receive $5 million dollars from Movie Gallery, one of the nation's largest video retailers, and numerous other benefits.

In addition to the publicity associated with the name of the stadium, which was formerly known as Memorial Stadium in honor of veterans killed in foreign wars, the annual payments of $250,000 will earn Movie Gallery four commercials on each radio broadcast of football games, four commercials on the new video board at home football games, the title sponsorship of post-game radio shows, a full page ad in USA Today announcing the partnership, a full page ad in each home football program, one of the new luxury skyboxes with 16 tickets for all events and 24 additional reserved seats, branding and assorted signs around the new facility

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and the use of TSU coaches for commercials and speaking engagements at least five times per year.

"We are very excited about this partnership," said Joe Malugen, CEO of Movie Gallery. "The Troy State University system is located in the heart of our home market and has provided many outstanding employees to the Movie Gallery team. Through this relationship, we are supporting this important local institution and, at the same time, increasing our brand awareness through significant marketing and media."

Movie Gallery, founded by Malugen and Harrison Parrish in Dothan, has projected earnings of $650 million and employs over 8,500 people in 44 states and seven Canadian provinces.

"This is a tremendous day for Troy State University and our athletics program," said Athletics Director Johnny Williams. "Movie Gallery's generous commitment to our university will allow us to finalize plans for what we believe is one of the finest on-campus stadiums in the nation. Our relationship with Movie Gallery is unique in that only three other I-A schools in the nation have football stadiums that carry a corporate sponsor's name."

Syracuse plays in the Carrier Dome, named after an air conditioning company, while Louisville plays in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and Texas Tech plays in Jones SBC Stadium, which was once named after the school's president, Clifford Jones, and altered after a $25 million donation from Southwestern Bell Corporation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Movie Gallery will also receive and award two four-year academic scholarships each year to a school in the TSU system and will receive an opportunity for a seat on the TSU School of Business Advisory Board.

TSU is obligated by the contract to designate one home game per year to honor veterans, with Movie Gallery participating in some manner agreeable to both parties.

Though the official name of the stadium is now Movie Gallery Veterans Memorial Stadium, according to the contract signed Friday, "The name of the facility for purposes of all media, press releases, publicity or announcements within the control of Troy State, including all public address announcements and radio broadcasts within the control of Troy State, shall be 'Movie Gallery Stadium'."

According to TSU Athletic Department Tom Strother, this stipulation negates the need of the Board of Trustees to officially pass a resolution stripping the name of scandal-plagued businessman Richard Scrushy from the playing field. After a $1 million donation used to fund an initial slate of renovations, Scrushy's name was attached to the field at Memorial Stadium.

Currently, Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium is undergoing a renovation that will expand its capacity from 17,500 to approximately 30,000 when the next football season begins in September. Included in the project will be 27 luxury suites, the "Trojan Stadium Club" level, a state-of-the-art press area and floors of the press box dedicated to sports medicine, academics and strength and conditioning. The stadium will also boast a new AstroPlay artificial playing surface, a large screen video display and new lighting.

The first college-level game will be on Sept. 20, when TSU hosts Southeastern Louisiana.