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TinotopiaLog → Corporate ‘Naming Rights’ ( 8 Feb 2002)
Friday 08 February 2002

Corporate ‘Naming Rights’

According to this New York Times article, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is making noises about selling naming rights in city parks to large companies eager to have their name before the public.

(Since the Times would rather get a buck out of you than actually be the paper of record, you’ll now have to read the article here.)

I really don’t understand this, at all. I mean, I understand the bargain — if your company ponies up a few million dollars a year to slap your name on the local stadium, your name gets mentioned thousands of times in sports columns, on TV, and so forth.

It’s very cheap for the exposure you get, and that’s what I don’t understand. The current contract in Houston calls for Enron to pay the city $100 million over 30 years for naming rights. That’s $3.33 million a year, which isn’t much. There’s no other way to get your name in front of so many people so cheaply.

The stadium-builders — usually local or state governments — are selling the naming rights for less than their true value.

Not only that, but these governments never seem to take into account the value to the community of a non-commercial name.

The people involved just seem to be trying to recover, any way they can, the enormous expense that now goes into building a stadium. But I think that a sound analysis of these expenses (and income from things like naming rights) would show that none of it makes any sense, and that cities would be better off leaving the construction of sports facilities to private investors — who can then name the thing anything they like.

Posted by tino at 11:10 8.02.02
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Not long ago, I was mildly affronted when I learned that Providence, RI had allowed their civic center to be named, “Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence.” Here’s an article about the terms of the ‘agreement’:

“Providence Civic Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Seal a Sweet Deal”

For the city’s population of 173,618 - as reported by the 2000 Census

  • there are 21 Dunkin’ Donuts locations sprinkled throughout the tiny New England enclave. I can claim from my personal understanding of the distances between these Dunkin’ Donut shops that they are close enough to one another that one could conceivably follow a pilgrimage from shop to shop until reaching the holy ‘Premier Event Arena’ downtown to catch a perfomance of ‘Champions on Ice’ or a ‘Bruins’ game when in season.

I thought this instance of ‘naming rights’ might lend further credibility to your editorial.

Posted by: C.J. Baker at February 28, 2002 10:31 PM