Canvas Stadium is the new name for Colorado State University’s 41,000-capacity multipurpose stadium that opened on the school’s Fort Collins campus in 2017.
The newly rebranded Canvas Credit Union received naming rights to the facility through a $37.7 million partnership agreement announced in April 2018. The agreement, which stands as one of the largest collegiate athletic venue naming agreements in history, was part of an ambitious rebranding initiative by the former Public Service Credit Union, under the direction of company President and CEO Todd Marksberry.
“Congratulations to Todd Marksberry and the entire Canvas Credit Union family as they move forward with a new name while maintaining their decades-long commitment to serving the people of Colorado,” said CSU President Tony Frank. “We’re proud that the home of the CSU Rams will now be known as Canvas Stadium moving forward, and we could not be more pleased that the partnership we have established with Canvas will create more opportunities to serve our students, our state and its citizens.”
Marksberry, Frank and CSU Athletics Director Joe Parker also announced a June 15 public event at Canvas Stadium to celebrate the naming of the facility.
The official Stadium Name Celebration is scheduled from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on June 15 in the Stadium Club on the fourth level of the west tower, and a Family and Friends Party will run from 3 to 6 p.m. at the stadium’s New Belgium Porch. Fun for the entire family, including activities on the playing field from 3:30 to 5:30, highlight the Family and Friends Party. Both events are free and open to the public.
“We congratulate our great partners on their new name and corporate identity,” Parker said. “We are thankful for the partnership we share with Todd Marksberry and the Canvas Credit Union family, which includes the naming of our spectacular on-campus stadium, and we are excited to join in announcing the name Canvas Stadium to the public. The alignment of the mission of both Colorado State University and Canvas Credit Union to serve people and enhance their lives could not be more appropriate. The name Canvas Stadium provides the perfect reference for one of the nation’s newest and best collegiate stadiums, fully committed to serving our students, faculty and staff, alumni, community and fans. We are honored that one of Colorado’s premier organizations is sharing its name with us.”
Canvas Credit Union is a not-for-profit, state-chartered, member-owned financial cooperative that has been in business since 1938. Today, the credit union has more than $2.3 billion in assets and more than 238,000 members – and a mission to help individuals and families make better decisions and grow stronger financially. Learfield’s Rams Sports Properties and their Campus+ business brokered the agreement as part of its ongoing support for CSU.
The $220 million, 727,000-square-foot stadium proved immensely popular and attractive to fans in its inaugural season of 2017, and drew rave reviews from local and national media, as well national television networks that broadcast CSU’s games to large audiences. The Rams set an all-time attendance record with a total of 192,369 fans and a per-game average of 32,062, representing a 16-percent attendance increase from 2016 — eighth highest in all of college football. Season ticket sales also reached an all-time high of 15,477, a 40-percent increase from the 2016 total of 11,054.
In the stadium’s grand-opening game on Aug. 26, 2017, the Rams defeated Oregon State, 58-27, before a sellout crowd of 37,583, the third-largest crowd in school history.
Stadium’s debut a huge success
The return of CSU football games to campus from Hughes Stadium in 2017 brought the pageantry and celebration of Rams game days back to the heart of the university for the first time in 50 years, providing countless new engagement opportunities for the entire university. The stadium’s design embraces Colorado’s natural beauty, topography and visual connections to the Rocky Mountains from campus and ensures functionality for both game-day and non-game day usage.
All of the Rams’ day-to-day football training facilities and offices are located on the west side of the facility. The east side of the building includes the Iris and Michael Smith Alumni Center, general classroom space and the Collaborative for Student Achievement.
Sonny Lubick Field remains
The playing surface will continue to be named Sonny Lubick Field through an anonymous donation announced in March 2016 to honor of the legendary CSU coach who served from 1993 to 2007, and who also happens to serve as Vice President of Community Outreach for Canvas Credit Union.
The stadium also features two spectacular VIP areas — The New Belgium Porch in the north end zone and the Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies Field Club behind the Rams’ bench at midfield — each of which is unique in all of college football, as well as a 270-degree open-air concourse. The Smith Alumni Center and new academic space has been integrated into the design to bring students and faculty into the building year-round, and the stadium clubs, VIP areas and other meeting spaces provide opportunities for non-game-day events year-round. Through May 31, 2018, Canvas Stadium has hosted more than 260 such events for the CSU and Fort Collins communities, as well as local organizations and corporations.
The agreement with Canvas Credit Union combined with $20 million given in 2016 to name Sonny Lubick Field brings the total naming rights revenues at Colorado State to $57 million for the stadium. This compares favorably with the recently announced $69 million United Airlines Memorial Coliseum at University of Southern California and the $41 million Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington. The Colorado State agreement with Canvas Credit Union is for 15 years and includes annual escalator clauses for inflation, as well as a signing bonus, in recognition of the visibility and success of the stadium.