Saturday, December 3, 2011

Why do Teams Sell Stadium Naming Rights?

Another one of those things that I just don’t get. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the idea of selling a naming rights. I don’t really care what a stadium is named, as long as it rolls off the tongue well. Frankly, I think Petco Park or Safeco Field are nicer names than Oriole Park at Camden Yards. And, if the Sox ever play at Leonard P Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Park, I’ll choke on my Fenway Frank. So, that’s not the problem. To be honest, I have a little trouble figuring out when a stadium has sold the naming rights or not. Is Wrigley Field named after a swell owner, or a chewing gum company? Is Fenway Park named after a neighborhood, or a realty company? Is Yankee Stadium named after the team, or a baseball company? So, I’m not bothered that they do it, I just don’t know why.

I know that the short answer is probably because they don’t pay for the stadiums. They make the cities provide them with the place to play. So, the cities take the chance to sell the naming rights. Even if that’s the case, why doesn’t the team just buy the rights?

I’m thinking back to my trip to Pittsburgh. I’ve mentioned before that while I was there I bought a pierogi magnet. I also bought a baseball. It has painting of PNC Park on it. It has the name of PNC Park on it. It has a slogan for PNC Park. What doesn’t it have? Any mention of the Pirates. So, I went to see the Pirates play. They won in exciting fashion. I bought two things while I was there to remember the game. Neither one of them mentions the Pirates on them. What gives?

Talk about a missed opportunity. Another time where a conversation could be about the team, but ends up being about a bank. Imagine if it were Pirates Park instead? Or even something cleverer. Then, every baseball would have the Pirates name on it. Every magazine article about the team would say “Pirates” over and over. It would get the name out there. What about other events that happen to take place at or around the park? Shouldn’t local restaurants advertise that they’re close to Pirates Park, instead of a bank? Or other events that are held in the Park. Shouldn’t those tickets all advertise the team? Shouldn’t these teams that aren’t drawing well be doing whatever they can to get their name and logo out to the masses? Why would they want to share that exposure with a bank, or a pet store? There’s a reason that companies are willing to spend money on naming rights.

Why aren’t the teams?


  1. In most cases, the teams are the ones making money off of the naming rights.

  2. Then they should definitely just take the naming rights themselves. It's their call.

  3. Is this a serious question? It's $$$$$$$$!

    The team pockets all the money!

    When the Eagles and Phillies held the taxpayers up for new stadiums, the state (i.e. taxpayers) paid 1/3, the city (i.e. taxpayers) paid 1/3, and the team "paid" 1/3. The team's share included money collected from stadium naming rights (which the companies pass on to their customers), and in the case of the Eagles, from personal seat license fees. So in effect, the taxpayers paid much more than 2/3 of the cost.

  4. Small market teams do it because they need the money they get. Here are some examples;

    Diamondbacks - Chase Field: $66M
    Angels - Edison: 50M
    White Sox - US Cellular Fiels: 68M
    Reds - Great American Ballpark (Great American Financial): 75M
    Indians - Jacobs Field: 13.9M
    Rockies - Coors Field: 15M
    Tigers - Comerica Park: 66M
    Marlins - (was ProPlayer shared with Dolphins: 20M
    Astros - Munite Maid Park: 168M (was 100M Enron but you know...)
    Brewers - Miller Park: 41M
    Phillies - Citizens Bank: 57.5M
    Pirates - PNC Park: 30M
    Cardinals - Bush Stadium: surprisingly the name isn't for Bush beer.
    Padres - Petco: 60M
    Giants - Pacific Bell: 50M
    Mariners - Safeco: 40M
    Rays - Tropicana: 46M

    Ravens -M&T Bank: 85M
    panther Ericsson: 20M
    Broncos - Invesco: 120 (I didn't realize it wasn't Mile High anymore so a waste of 120M)
    Lions - Ford Field: 40M
    Texans - Reliant Stadium: 300M
    Eagles - lincoln Financial: 139.6
    Steelers - Heinz Field: 57M
    Rams - Edward Jones: 31.8
    Chargers - Qualcomm: 18M
    Bucaneers - Raymond James Stadium: 32.5M
    Redskins - FedEx Field 205M

    You can tell which ones have sold the names the most recently because the numbers are way higher.

    Estimated combined total of all current major professional (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) stadium and arena naming rights deals:
    $3.551 billion

    I can't blame them for that kind of money.

    I bet you the English soccer field naming rights are even crazier amounts.

  5. So, why would Petco pay $60M to get their name on the park unless they thought they'd make more than 60M from it? So, if they're making a profit by having naming rights...wouldn't the Padres make more than the $60M they're getting if they named the place SD Padres Park? Isn't that the better business move to build the Padres brand, and make even more moneY?

  6. If someone is going to go to a Padres game they are not going for what the name of the stadium is. Putting Padres in the name doesn't help sales in anyway because they already have the fan there buying a ticket and just calling it Padres park wouldn't make people go. It is a Padres game reguardless. Petco expects people to go to a Padre's game and see their name in hopes that when they need something for their pet they will go to Petco.

    A better marketing plan for a team would be take the millions offered by a company and spend that on advertising somewhere that they don't already have the sale.

  7. I commend the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Dodgers for not selling out.

  8. the dodgers BARELY escaped that one. i'm pretty darn sure that would be coming if friggin mccourt owned the team any longer.
    i gotta admit, i agree with section 36's theory about branding. on an emotional level, i ALWAYS prefer the name of the team for their stadium, or at least something semi-generic like three rivers stadium. i absolutely hate the whore stadium names like 'farmers insurance brought to you by mr. pibb field'.


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