The Kansas City Chiefs roster will undoubtedly take on a new look next season, but that will hardly be the only change for the AFC champions as they attempt to reach the Super Bowl for a third consecutive season.
On Thursday, the Chiefs announced a new exclusive naming rights deal with health insurance provider GEHA (pronounced G.E.H.A.) that will change the name of the Arrowhead Stadium to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, beginning with the 2021 NFL season.
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Chiefs & GEHA First Inked Partnership in 2019
The relationship with the Chiefs is not a new one for GEHA, who became the club’s exclusive health, dental and vision plan partner in July 2019. This also isn’t the first time GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium has been floated around. Last July, following a report from Sports Business Journal that claimed a naming rights deal was near, the Chiefs denied as much in an official team statement.
While that held true for the 2020 campaign, the sides have reached a new agreement to expand upon what is viewed as a complementary partnership.
“We are extremely proud and excited to announce our naming rights agreement with GEHA. When we set out to find a partner for the field at Arrowhead, it was critical to identify a national leader that shares our core values, as well as a deep connection to the local community and respect for Chiefs Kingdom,” Chiefs president Mark Donovan said, via the team’s official release on Thursday. “Our relationship with GEHA over the last few years has only served to reinforce the alignment between our two organizations and proven their strong, long-standing relationship with the local community. This expanded partnership will continue to build lasting health and wellness programs that support the team, GEHA and our community.”
According to the team, the new long-term contract “runs through the end of the current lease agreement with Jackson County Sports Complex Authority,” which concludes on January 31, 2031. Chiefs Digest beat reporter Matt Derrick also notes that Kansas City first received the right to the stadium’s naming rights back in 2006.
While the Chiefs will rake in all of the revenue from the sale, their increased cash flow will have zero impact on the team’s salary cap in 2021 or beyond. As such, Kansas City will still need to clear around $23 million to get under the new projected cap of $180 million.
With the new deal in place, only four NFL teams are left standing without an exclusive corporate sponsor in place for their home stadium: the Chicago Bears (Soldier Field), Green Bay Packers (Lambeau Field), Cincinnati Bengals (Paul Brown Stadium) and Buffalo Bills (Bills Stadium).
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Twitter Reacts to Name Change as Only Twitter Can
Per usual, fans and pundits alike were quick to share their first reactions on Twitter following the Chiefs’ latest announcement. The sentiment was received about as well as you might expect.
Much like the Los Angeles Chargers will forever be the San Diego Chargers to a countless number of football fans, good luck getting Chiefs Kingdom (or the general public) to work this new vernacular into their football conversations.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!