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LA Stadium gets its first sponsor

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American Airlines flies in for the save

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23: LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets is tackled by Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23: LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets is tackled by Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Although it now seems a predetermined guarantee that the Rams and the Chargers will be playing in LA Stadium one year from now, the project currently stands at 75% completion and has officially entered the business-wrangling portion of the game.

As ESPN relays, the first officially announced founding partner for the complex will be American Airlines. Their shiny new two-plus-acre, two-level open-air space will serve as the main entrance into the 70,000-seat stadium and 6,000-seat entertainment venue.

While first thought is that this is a bit of a strange deal— a small space (relative to the huge 298 acre complex size) attracting a high-level partner, but it makes a lot of sense. The naming rights to the stadium are expected to fetch in excess of 10 million dollars per year (and probably a 20+ year commitment on that), and this is the stage of the game where the stadium “realtors” will bounce offers and inside information off of an assortment of potential interested partners. This is a 2nd-tier opportunity, but an important one in that American Airlines will get their brand in front of 70,000 fans each Sunday and countless thousands more for concerts and attractions.

An important milestone, this will likely lead to more sponsorship announcements over the next month as football season reaches a fever pitch. It also stands to reason that American Airlines is out of the running for stadium naming, and it would be terribly bad business to seek another airline for that honor. For that reason, we can remove potential airlines from the field, and it seems more likely that a tech or entertainment company will be the premier sponsor.

And so, the chess match truly begins with this first move. Expect more major announcements before September kickoff.

-Jason “Snore LAX” Michaels