Apr 13, 2017 12:56 PM EDT
The University of Phoenix Stadium will soon change its name. On Tuesday, the Arizona Cardinals and University of Phoenix announced that the online school will withdraw its 20-year sponsorship deal.
The university has been scrutinized over the past several years. Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic said the Apollo Education Group, parent of the University of Phoenix, has been hit with regulatory scrutiny, declining enrollment and layoffs.
Due to the decline of enrollment they decided to withdraw from its naming rights at the stadium. The university lay off more than 170 full-time faculty members and saw a decline of 40,000 students in enrollment from 2015 to 2016. As their last hurrah, they hosted the Final Four last week.
The Revenge Of The Birds reported, the contract had called for University of Phoenix to pay the NFL team $154.5 million over two decades, which is an average of $7.7 million each year. Harris said the Arizona Cardinals may actually benefit from the university pulling out of the naming rights. The a new deal may double the annual payments to the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are looking for new naming-rights sponsors, but will keep its current name for now. The team will also continue a partnership with University of Phoenix as their official education partner, The Sporting News reported.
The Cardinals executive vice president and chief operation officer Ron Minegar said that they are looking forward to continuing their relationship with University of Phoenix and are also excited about identifying a new naming rights partner for the next era of the stadium. He added that their partners at the university have played a major factor in the stadium's tremendous success.
The stadium opened in 2006 and hosted two Super Bowls, three college footbal national championship games, 11 Fiesta Bowls and a Pro Bowl in addition to the Final Four last week. It has been a source of community pride and unparalleled economic driver for Arizona, said Minegar.
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