A Rose Bowl by any other name would keep college football’s most iconic venue viable for decades to come.
The Pasadena City Council has unanimously approved a proposal to put the name of a prominent UCLA alumnus on the hedges that surround the Rose Bowl field after Richard “Tod” Spieker agreed to donate $10 million of the $40 million being sought in improvements for the city-owned stadium’s 100th birthday in 2022.
Spieker is a Silicon Valley real estate magnate and former All-American swimmer at UCLA. His name will be displayed as “Spieker Field at the Rose Bowl” starting this season as part of a 25-year donor recognition agreement but will not be part of the stadium’s formal title or mentioned during game broadcasts.
“I think people see this as, we’re selling the field naming rights,” said Dedan Brozino, executive director of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and protect the future of the national historic landmark. “It’s truly recognition of a donor for a tremendous donation, a tremendous gift to the future of the Rose Bowl.”
The Rose Bowl recently unveiled the final stages of renovations costing more than $165 million that resulted in the construction of the Terry Donahue Pavilion, widened tunnels and enhanced concourses, among other improvements. But those upgrades did not solve every need of the aging stadium.
“There were some things left on the cutting room floor that we need to address very, very shortly here,” Brozino said, “and we’re excited to do that through this gift.”
Among the improvements being sought are enhanced stadium lighting; permanent metal detectors; new seats and video boards; updated concessions stands and restrooms; a Rose Bowl museum; and a stronger WiFi signal.
Rose Bowl officials could have solicited a corporate partner, Brozino said, but preferred to stick with private philanthropy and found a willing participant in Spieker.
“I think we found somebody that sees the vision that we see for the future of the Rose Bowl and wants to be part of it in a very classy, dignified way,” Brozino said.
Brozino acknowledged the need to keep pace with the renovations planned for the Coliseum and the allure of the $2.6-billion Inglewood stadium that’s scheduled to host the Rams and Chargers beginning with the 2020 season. The Rose Bowl also hopes to be one of the venues for the 2028 Olympics that will be held in Los Angeles.
“We do recognize the great work that our partners across town are doing and we want to make sure we’re giving our fans the same type of experience that they might get if they go to these other venues,” Brozino said, “so that’s definitely part of it.”
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