On the Beat

Walnut Creek has a shiny new name

Dustin Lynch opens for Luke Bryan Friday night, Sept. 25, 2015 at Raleigh, NC's Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.
Dustin Lynch opens for Luke Bryan Friday night, Sept. 25, 2015 at Raleigh, NC's Walnut Creek Amphitheatre. ssharpe@newsobserver.com

Walnut Creek Amphitheatre has a new name: Effective immediately, the city-owned concert facility in Southeast Raleigh is the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek.

The deal between Walnut Creek operator Live Nation and Coastal Federal Credit Union was announced Thursday. Live Nation is the world’s largest concert promoter, while Raleigh-based Coastal has a reported $2.6 billion in assets and 212,000 members.

“It’s a multi-year deal and we are not disclosing financial terms,” Live Nation’s Marc Abend said.

But according to the city, Coastal will pay a total of $1.8 million over five years – $200,000 in 2016 and $400,000 each of the next four years. Raleigh and Live Nation will split the deal’s net proceeds evenly, less costs such as new signs for the venue.

Coastal is the 20,000-capacity venue’s fourth title sponsor since 1991, following Hardee’s (1991-98), Alltel (1999-2006) and Time Warner (2008-12). Coastal signing on ends a three-year-plus period during which the amphitheater did not have a title sponsor, although this deal involves 40 percent less money than Walnut Creek’s last sponsorship. Over the course of its five-year deal with Walnut Creek, Time Warner paid more than $3 million.

“Keep in mind the market has changed since 2012,” said city spokesman John Boyette Jr. “The city is very fortunate to have an opportunity to work with a quality company like Coastal Credit Union and have them as title sponsor. The city is quite pleased with the terms of the agreement.”

Even without title-sponsorship revenue, Walnut Creek has done well in recent years. Last year, the city’s cut of all 2015 Walnut Creek revenues came to more than $1.5 million, most of which went toward upkeep of the facility. The venue’s debt service for its construction was retired last June.

While Walnut Creek does the bulk of its business with country music nowadays, Kanye West, Black Keys and Coldplay are among the acts to have played it over the years.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi