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Valley Children’s naming rights deal with Fresno State includes CEO, executive perks

Fresno Bee
Valley Children’s Hospital CEO Todd Suntrapak’s $5 million salary and other multi-million-dollar perks have raised some skeptical eyebrows on the Fresno City Council, but it’s not the first time a paycheck and perks involving the hospital and its top executives have given pause.

A $10 million naming rights deal with Fresno State that was negotiated by the university in 2022 includes a few pricey, personal fringe benefits for Suntrapak and hospital officials, including four seats for round trip travel when the football team travels by charter to road games plus four tickets in a “best available” location at those games.

The deal includes the use of a suite at home football games along with full catering with a value of $1,500 for each game – that is a lot of hot dogs.

The university also pays for a premium hospitality space in one of its tailgating lots.

Along with the tailgating space comes tents, table chairs and lighting, though Valley Children’s is responsible for any food and beverage, staffing or security costs.

Suntrapak, according to the hospital’s federal tax forms, received total compensation of $5.1 million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2022. He also received a $5 million loan “for residence as a retention incentive in lieu of other compensation.”

In 2020, he was paid $2.1 million in salary and bonus.

Fresno City councilmembers Miguel Arias and Garry Bredefeld have asked Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate how the hospital is spending state dollars.

The California State University board of trustees applauded the naming rights agreement between Fresno State and Valley Children’s when it approved the deal in July, 2022, and for the hospital it is a solid deal in a lot of ways.

Fresno State does receive a $1 million payment on Aug. 1 through 2032, which is to be split between the athletics department and the university’s nursing program.

But it also gave Valley Children’s exclusivity not only at the football stadium that bears its name, but also at the Save Mart Center, Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium, Margie Wright Diamond and the soccer stadium, as well as any existing or future stadium or field where its teams play regular-season home games.

That had a significant impact on the university’s contract with its athletics multimedia rights partner, Learfield/Bulldog Sports Properties. It will cost the athletics department hundreds of thousands of dollars every year during the 10-year agreement.

With that exclusivity, Valley Children’s shut out other entities in the healthcare field from sponsorship opportunities at athletics venues on campus. Because of that, Fresno State had to renegotiate its contract with Learfield/BSP.

In 2023-24 athletics was to receive $3,545,000, but after the contract with Learfield/BSP was amended it will receive $2,879,500, a loss of a guaranteed $665,500.

The deal only gets more costly from there, shrinking the value of a $10 million deal considerably.

In 2024-25, the athletics department was to receive $3,695,000 from Learfield/BSP, but in the amended contract it will receive $2,879,500, a loss of $815,500.

In 2025-26, the athletics department was to receive $3,845,500, but will receive only $2,879,500, a loss of $966,000.

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