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APS stadium naming rights being negotiated

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new name is in the works for Community Stadium on the city’s West Side.

Albuquerque Public Schools and its foundation are close to finishing a deal with Nusenda Credit Union to rename the sports site Nusenda Credit Union Community Stadium.

Under the proposed deal, the company would pay the APS school foundation $79,800 annually over the next eight years for the naming rights.

On Wednesday, the Albuquerque Public Schools board laid the groundwork for the deal by voting unanimously during a policy committee meeting to transfer the stadium’s naming rights to the foundation, which will allow the foundation to ink the deal with Nusenda.

“We know that this is happening everywhere. It’s a good way to bring in income,” said board member Steven Michael Quezada.

The board will have to vote on the measure one more time, at its meeting Wednesday, to make the transfer official, but that vote appears to be a formality. Meanwhile, the APS foundation board will vote on the agreement at its next meeting, Tuesday. If both boards approve the contract, the name change would go into effect April 16, according to an APS news release.

Over the span of the contract, APS stands to make $638,400 in revenue, Phill Casaus, director of the APS Education Foundation, told the board Wednesday evening.

However, 20 percent of that will go to pay a consultant, Tebo & Associates, which negotiated the proposed contract on behalf of the foundation and the district, Casaus told the board.

Casaus said 65 percent of the revenue the foundation receives will go toward athletics that are not funded in the district’s regular operating budget, such as middle school soccer, and the rest will go toward foundation grants that support other school activities.

Several board members said they have interest in pursuing other naming rights for other district sports complexes.

Community Stadium, a 7,500-seat facility located at 1601 Arroyo Vista NW, just north of Interstate 40 at the 98th Street exit, opened in August 2013. The deal will help Nusenda gain name recognition, said Anneliese Elrod, the credit union’s senior vice president of strategic marketing and development.

“It was an attractive proposition for us because we have a 79-year history of partnering with APS. They are our founding partner. We were originally founded in 1936 as Albuquerque Public Schools Federal Credit Union,” she said.

APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta said the deal is another example of the district’s communications department and the foundation working to find opportunities to bring in new revenue.

Another example is the APS lease agreements with Clear Channel Communications, which allows the company to have digital signs at schools in exchange for revenue and free advertising for the district.

School board member Barbara Petersen said she had reservations about the deal despite voting for it.

“As a board we need to stay vocal that as public schools we need to stay publicly funded,” Petersen said, adding it is sad that school officials have to spend time looking for funding.