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Sonoma State University, MasterCard unveil naming-rights deal for music center shows

Sonoma State University and MasterCard on Wednesday unveiled additional details of their $15 million naming rights deal for the Green Music Center.

The partnership grants MasterCard exclusive rights to name the concert series at the center, which is due to open in September, as well as a future outdoor pavilion adjoining Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall.

Both the fall and summer concert series will be called the MasterCard Performance Series, a deal that will last for 20 years, while the outdoor music and dance venue will be called the MasterCard Performing Arts Pavilion in perpetuity.

The agreement is the first of its kind for the university. The Board of Trustees of the California State University signed off on the deal Tuesday.

The $15 million will be paid over the life of the 20-year agreement, with $12 million going to fund the pavilion and $3 million worth of joint marketing and promotions, said Jessica Anderson, marketing manager for the Green Music Center.

While it has yet to be designed, the pavilion is envisioned to have fixed and lawn seating for 10,000 in an amphitheater setting similar to that of the Hollywood Bowl.

The deal immediately gives MasterCard holders access to advance ticket sales. Beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, holders of MasterCard credit or debit cards were allowed to purchase tickets for the fall concert series. Tickets go on sale to the general public July 29.

MasterCard also will get access to some of the school's 7,700 undergraduates by providing "financial literacy tools" for students.

Details have yet to be worked out, but MasterCard may provide the university with "opportunities to teach our students when they are really young how not to become overburdened by using credit cards the wrong way," Anderson said.

Such opportunities are envisioned to happen outside the classroom, such as on-line literacy programs or lectures from MasterCard representatives on campus, Anderson said.


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