Three sports venues get new corporate names that you’re going to forget immediately

Lots of old sports venues getting new names this week!

The price tags on the Buffalo deal was $40 million for seven years; no money changed hands in Charlotte, obviously, while the Dolphins declined to say how much they got for 18 years of their stadium name. I’m guessing not much, since nobody is going to remember this corporate name any better than the last five or six, but maybe since they just did a renovation, people will think of it as a new building with a new name?

Anyway, the fact that naming rights are worth more for a brand-new, nameless venue continues to be an incentive for teams to demand them. It’s probably not the best thing from an environmental sustainability standpoint that teams and cities are building stadiums partly just to act as giant billboards, but I can’t complain too much so long as it does allow them to fob off some costs on another sucker.

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19 comments on “Three sports venues get new corporate names that you’re going to forget immediately

    1. Right. Behind only Dallas and New Jersey. Obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  1. In related stories, the Marlins’ place will be called Coco Park and the beleaguered Florida Panthers will now call Joe Arena home.
    (Joke. Folks from Chicago will get this)

  2. Neil, I’d like to add a very odd one.
    Spartan Stadium, built in 1933 and home to the San Jose State Spartans and a variety of non-football pro teams over the years, was just renamed CEFCU Stadium. Wikipedia says the deal was 15 years, $8.7 million. The weirdness is that CEFCU’s headquarters are located in…..Peoria, IL.

    1. Credit unions are funny animals. Federal rules say they have to limit membership but the terms are broad and they can choose to make it open to tons of people. Some are open to whole states.

      Anyways, ignoring the “are related to a member” or “work for CEFCU” type options the main options for joining are:

      – Live or work in Fulton, Knox, Livingston, Logan, McLean, Macon, Marshall, Mason, Peoria, Putnam, Sangamon, Stark, Tazewell, or Woodford counties in Illinois.

      – Live, work, or worship in Alameda, Contra Costa, or Santa Clara counties in California.

      – Are an employee or retiree of Caterpillar Inc., Caterpillar subsidiaries, or Caterpillar dealerships.

      Now as a native of Illinois who now calls California home this makes some sense. Those counties in Illinois are not doing so well, and Caterpillar is having layoffs (again), so the CU probably needs to get a bunch of new customers in 3 very fast growing and very prosperous California counties and fast.

      1. The counties listed in both Illinois and California are home to the original Caterpillar factories. My guess is that CEFCU has been in the California locations since long before the current boom.

        1. I don’t know for sure, but I highly doubt Cat had factories in all of those counties. Some of those IL counties are pretty rural, though geographically close to Peoria.

          Googling, CEFCU has only been in Santa Clara County since it bought Valley Credit Union out of conservatorship in 2008. Today it accounts for only 8% of membership.

          I don’t know for sure that they had no presence in Alameda or Contra Costa Counties, but I’m also not aware of a Cat factory in either place.

  3. Reminds me of a recent photo of visiting fans holding up letters spelling out “WELCOME TO CITIZENS BANK PARK SOUTH”. I’m sorry; welcome to *where* now?

  4. Sacramento, Golden 1 Center. This is a local credit union. Very nearly 100% of their business is conducted within 25 miles of the arena. They hope to increase their customer base by 300,000 over the life of the naming-rights deal.

    I think they spent way, way too much. It’s really true, once you get past about 50 really large corporations, the remaining naming rights deals seem pointless. Chase in SF makes sense; G1 in Sacramento is a real head-scratcher.

    1. Their loss is the team’s, fans’, and arena’s gain. It will have good name recognition precisely *because* Golden 1 is not a national brand, and the arena’s identity will not be swallowed up into the interchangeable-brand-anonymity ether of AT&T, Chase, CITI, Target, Progressive, FedEx, B of A, etc.

      1. I think the point is if the Kings ever become good enough for anyone to care, every time Golden 1 is mentioned on a nationally broadcast game or on Sportscenter, that’s essentially wasted. The guy in Dubuque can’t go to Golden 1. He could, however, say “actually I need a new cell phone” or “I’ve really been meaning to shop around for car insurance” or “I need to go to Target and buy some cheetos at halftime.”

  5. But very few naming rights deals top the exorbitant amount that Forest Lucas paid the Indianapolis Colts for Lucas Oil Stadium

  6. As Neil says, though, it is an open question how much “sell on” naming rights deals are worth in terms of advertising or brand recognition.

    People are used to public buildings/facilities being given names just once. When the initial naming rights deal for a new building is made, it is possible (even likely) that the company purchasing those rights will forever have their name associated with the facility and team.

    When 5, 7 or 10 years down the road those rights come up again, the purchaser is highly unlikely to gain the same kind of market recognition. The broadcasters will be forced to call the facility by the new name, but everyone else will still call it what they have grown used to calling it.

    For those of a certain age, the Bills’ stadium has always been and will always be Rich stadium (regardless whether we know it was named after a company, or a famous local resident named Rich). It can be renamed as many times as Pegula or the city of Buffalo wants, it will never be anything but Rich stadium to us.

    I don’t care who pays to put their name on Joe Robbie Stadium (which was built with private money, btw), it will always be Joe Robbie stadium.

    How many times do you think the answer to “where is Marlins park?” has been answered with “where the Orange Bowl was” in the last few years? Ok, so no-one really cares where it is and certainly no-one is interested in going there due to the Loria effect, but…

    1. This is very true, even with newer venues. The SF Giants’ stadium has now been “AT&T Park” for over a decade, which is more than twice as long as it was “Pac Bell Park”, but people still struggle with the name, because it was “Pac Bell Ballpark” when it was being built, and when it opened, and when it was the new, shiny thing that everyone was talking about for the first few years of its life. Same with the Diamondbacks’ “Chase Field” (formerly “Bank One Ballpark” aka “The BOB”) and the Sacramento Kings’ “Sleep Train Arena” (Arco Arena).

      The waters are further muddied when e.g. AT&T, Chase, FedEx, BofA put their name on multiple venues.

      1. sorry, that should read “… it was ‘Pac Bell Park’ when it was being built …” Officially “Pacific Bell Park” but frequently called “Pac Bell Park”..

      2. Yep. I’ve never even visited San Francisco, am not a Giants fan and still call it Pac Bell… which it hasn’t been for a long time.

        The problem for future naming rights “winners” is that even if the company that originally bought the rights goes out of business or is absorbed into a conglomerate, people still won’t call it by it’s new name.

        Despite being a Jimmy Buffett fan I wouldn’t call the Dolphins’ stadium Landshark if I was paid to.

        Rebranding stadia is the definition of wasted advertising money.

  7. Too bad Hard Rock is not publicly traded. Otherwise I would short it because bad things happen to whoever puts their name on the Dolphins stadium. Joe Robbie died, Pro Player went out of business, and Sun Life shut down its US operations. Only Land Shark survived, but their deal lasted less than a year.

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