University sells stadium name to prison company, because there’s no such thing as shame anymore

I know somebody’s going to ask about the university that sold its stadium naming rights to a for-profit prison company, so: A university has sold its stadium naming rights to a for-profit prison company. Namely Florida Atlantic University, which completed a new $70 million football stadium in 2011, has agreed to rename the building GEO Group Stadium for the next 12 years in exchange for a $6 million, ahem, “philanthropic donation.” GEO Group runs $3 billion worth of prisons in the U.S., Australia, South Africa, and the U.K., and is current being sued for human rights abuses against inmates.

The obvious jokes and student protests aside, the most interesting things here are that Sun Belt Conference naming rights aren’t worth much ($500,000 a year is a pittance compared to pretty much any pro sports naming-rights deal), and that this opens up a whole new realm of companies buying stadium names not so much as a way of getting publicity, but as a way of countering bad publicity. (Recall that GEO changed its name from Wackenhut ten years ago, in part to get away from the stench associated with that company name.) I hope we can now look forward to the Goldman Sachs Dome, Kim Jong-Un Stadium, and the Oscar Pistorius Bowl as people realize the benefits of distancing yourself from accusations of wrongdoing by associating yourself with something more wholesome like … American college football?

7 comments on “University sells stadium name to prison company, because there’s no such thing as shame anymore

  1. Brand and conscience washing would not be complete without a mention of Livestrong Sporting Park for Kansas City to Wiz at. That great deal got the sports team to PAY Livestrong for the honor of “sleight of hand” branding. That deal was recently ended.

  2. Well, this may be a new low… but it isn’t like some appalling companies haven’t tried to spruce up their image by brand association in the past.

    Maybe the Paterno & OJ statues can live on… only somebody will have to pay to sponsor them this time…

  3. I’ve always thought college football as being the red light district of sports. I actually believe that there’s more integrity in pro-boxing.

    Now what did Blackwater change their name to?

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