With construction on Katy ISD’s 12,000-seat, $62.5 million second football stadium on track for a fall 2017 opening, the committee tasked with making a naming recommendation to the KISD board of trustees is considering options, officials said.
Bryan Michalsky, head of the committee and treasurer of the board of trustees, said the committee was formed at its July 25 meeting.
“We want to run a very open process as far as soliciting different types of offers, but ultimately we’re looking to find someone that’s going to be a good partner for the district,” he said.
District officials said a survey conducted from July 7-19 received more than 5,600 responses. The results showed a close split between residents in favor of selling the naming rights to the stadium and those in favor of naming the stadium after an attribute.
Andrea Grooms, KISD’s chief officer for communications, presented the official survey results at the July 25 meeting, which indicated 57 percent of responses sided with selling the rights, while 43 percent preferred naming the stadium in a more traditional manner.
Michalsky said the committee has honed in on one question for further examination: whether participants would be in favor of the district selling the naming rights for the entire Student Activity Facility complex—which houses the Robert R. Shaw Center for STEAM, several other facilities, Rhodes Stadium and the new second stadium.
Both Fox and Michalsky said community members have expressed concern over including non-athletic facilities in an athletics sponsorship deal.
Due to those concerns, and with the survey’s split results in mind, the naming committee has begun exploring the hybrid option of naming the stadium itself after a KISD characteristic or namesake while selling the rights to just the portion of the complex that encompasses the two stadiums, Fox and Michalsky said.
Michalsky said this particular option could give KISD the best of both worlds, and allow the district to have permanent stadium names in lieu of a name attached to a corporate entity that could undergo a name change itself, engage in misconduct or go out of business.
The revenue boost from a naming rights deal should not supersede the district’s values, he said.
“There was a little bit of concern of over commercialization of the facility,” Michalsky said. “Money is not necessarily the No. 1 priority. I think finding a good partner for the district is very important as well.”
Fox said she expects the committee to bring a recommendation before the board by the end of December.
“Money is not necessarily the No. 1 priority. I think finding a good partner for the district is very important as well."
–Bryan Michalsky, KISD board of trustees treasurer
Michalsky said the committee will remain intent on working out a potential naming rights deal. The responsibility of choosing an attribute or namesake would go to the board.
Michalsky was tabbed to lead the committee by board President Rebecca Fox. The committee consists of roughly 10 community leaders, including two other board of trustees members, he said.
The names of other committee members have not been made public to keep the process honest, Michalsky said.
“[Keeping committee members’ identities secret is] just to kind of keep integrity of the process and not have potential bidders in the process contacting committee members and all of that,” Michalsky said.