Naming Rights Fad

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Well, that’s it! The Super Bowl is over. Last night, the eyes of the nation turned to Lucas Oil Stadium as the Patriots met the Giants in what turned out to be a disappointing rematch. Besides the complaining about the obvious lack of spectacular ads, my curious little mind couldn’t help but think, “What in the world is Lucas Oil? Moreover, what does that have to do with the Colts or a stadium?”

I immediately did a little research. Yes, I Googled during the Super Bowl, it’s not like I was missing much! As it turns out, Lucas Oil Productsis a “manufacturer of petroleum additives and oils for high performances engines.” Originally, I wondered why an engine oil company would want rights to a stadium. To my surprise, it actually makes sense for Lucas Oil Products to pay $122million over 20 years for naming rights of the stadium. In addition to conventions, basketball games, concerts and high school football, it hosts quite a few monster truck rallies and motocross shows. They undoubtedly benefit from the continuous reminder of their company plastered on the front of the building, countless programs, and informational brochures.

But, the Redskins’ FedEx Field? Or the Ravens M&T Bank Stadium? What do a bank or a package delivery company have to do with sports? And what does Bridgestone have to do with the Halftime Show, for that matter? (I have to admit, their commercial for the Super Bowl this year was kind of precious)

To me, this new fad of naming rights for anything and everything is utterly ridiculous. It seems when a company places its name on something completely unrelated to their products or services it could diminishes the value of the products.

Imagine if Turner Field was named American Express Field? The history, the familiarity, the tradition and the authenticity of the ballpark would be lost. Part of the reason we love Turner Field and keep returning season after season is because the name is now associated with our team and the memories we have made there. The same is true of any other stadium, field, or ballpark. Would you continue to relish a visit to Wrigley Field or the Meadowlands if they spontaneously changed to Office Max Field or the Dasani Sports Complex?

Homes of sports teams aren’t the only things to suffer under this new naming fad; shows and events are changing their names in favor of sponsors like the Chick-Fil-A Bowl or the Verizon Wireless Halftime Report. If you are driving down major roads in the future, do me a favor and look at the little blue signs posted along the shoulder. Chances are one or two of the roads you are driving have corporate sponsorsorships.

Perhaps it isn’t as important to other people as it is to me. Not to make light of stereotypes but I am a woman; I tend to get really attached and sentimental toward familiar things. As a fan I was devastated when they tore down Texas Stadium. How could they destroy the home of America’s team? Luckily for the new stadium is still appropriately named Cowboys Stadium. We don’t have to begrudgingly clamor into Gillette Stadium, for example, to cheer on our team. (They aren’t the Gillette Patriots, why should the stadium be called Gillette?)

While all fans aren’t as passionate as I about this corporate take-over of the sports world, many of us are not particularily pleased. Do I think that our dipleasure and contempt will force this to stop? No. While fans aren’t happy about the name changes, business do see quite a bit of increased revenue due to the added exposure.

Since this is our blog’s first post after the Super Bowl my post would be severly lacking if I neglected to post the best and worst super bowl commercials! I found a brilliant site that lays out the top ten best and top 5 worst ads really nicely:

Top 10 Best:
http://www.superbowl-commercials.org/14261.html

Top 5 Worst:
http://www.superbowl-commercials.org/14401.html

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