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Archive for the ‘Stadium Signage’ Category

Citi Field is gorgeous, but has too many advertisements

Posted by ZA on July 1, 2009

I was in New York City last week for work and took the opportunity to visit the new home of the New York Mets, Citi Field.  I was a guest of our work partners, NBC Sports, so I was treated to fantastic seats in row 1 behind the visitor dugout.  The seats not only afforded a great view of the action on the field, they also provided access to the array of clubs in the stadium.  So I feel like I got a complete look at what Citi Field has to offer, and I came away extremely impressed.

I had heard from friends who have been to both new baseball stadiums in New York, that the aesthetics of Citi Field blow away those of new Yankee Stadium.  And after visiting the new stadium in Queens, I can see why people have been impressed with the Mets new home field.  The architecture is impressive, the views from the seats are all great and the amentities are all first-class.  But there was one thing I didn’t like; Citi Field has too much signage on the outfield walls.

I should start by saying that I’m an advocate of teams & stadiums doing sponsorship deals.  I believe they are an essential ingredient for teams/venues to make money today.  But I also think there is a fine line between effective stadium sponsorship deals and overkill.  The Mets and Citi Field have sold too many sponsor positions on their outfield wall.  It doesn’t detract from the game, but I don’t feel that having that many brands listed is doing their sponsors any favors.  Corporations buy these ad placements to promote their their brand, but few probably enjoy being squeezed in between dozens of other sponsor logos.  The clutter kills a lot of the effectiveness that could have been garnered from the sponsorship deals.  Overselling the space also puts name brand sponsors like Budweiser and Pepsi next to off-beat ads for, Buy US Gold, and the NYC union represented the construction workers who built Citi Field.  I’m sure execs from Anaheiser-Busch and Pepsico are not thrilled with their placements.

Below are photos of the abundant stadium signage at Citi Field in New York.  During a quick count of the sponsors on the outfield wall I counted over 30 different brands, including; Budweiser, Chevrolet, Dunkin Donuts, FoxBusiness, Geico, Pepsi, Planters, Subway & Verizon.

Citi Field has over 30 sponsors on outfield walls

Citi Field has over 30 sponsors on outfield walls

Too many ads are one of the only drawbacks of Citi Field

Too many ads are one of the only drawbacks of Citi Field

It was a great experience at Citi Field, but Mets executives should consider thinning out the number of sponsors they display so prominently on the outfield walls.

Posted in MLB, Sponsorship Deals, Stadium Signage, Venue Information | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Does anyone have more sponsors than Real Salt Lake?

Posted by ZA on June 12, 2009

Sponsorship deals are a way for professional sports teams to collect additional revenue, beyond ticket sales and concessions.  Large professional teams can bring in millions of dollars per year from these type of sponsorships.  But not every sponsorship deal is a revenue generator, many today are in-kind deals where a team trades sponsorship rights for services.  For example, a team might receive free, or reduced rate, airline travel by providing a sponsorship package to an airline.

These in-kind sponsorship deals are valuable for teams and the sponsors who receive them, but they are probably not going to get the same level of exposure that cash paying sponsors will receive.  But teams have plenty of sponsorship opportunities to sell, from naming rights deals on their stadium all the way down to logo inclusion in a game program.  With this plethora of opportunities to wheel and deal on trading services for sponsorships, many teams are cutting down on expenses by lining up a multitude of in-kind sponsors to cover many of their team needs (i.e.- expenses).

One professional team that is having success signing these in-kind sponsorships is Real Salt Lake.  Real is an MLS team that has deals with over 20 sponsors, with more than half of those being new for 2009.  Real Salt Lake has divided their sponsors into three categories based on dollars contributed (or traded) for their deal.  Real has landed a few sponsor partnerships which are offsetting costs associated with running a team or stadium.  Waste Management, Xinsurance, Cricket Wireless, Allied Sign and JetBlue are all sponsors of Real Salt Lake who can also provide a valuable service (in-kind) to the club.  By signing sponsors who can do that, the team can reduce their expenses.

These type of exchange of services sponsorship deals are nothing new.  In-fact I’ve traded tickets for sponsorships at events for well over a decade.  But with budgets tight in the current economy it makes a lot of sense for both teams and vendors to look into arrangements like this.

Real Salt Lake sponsorships:
Allied Sign
American First Credit Union
Burger King
Colonial Flag
Cricket Wireless
Fiji Water
Hoopes Vision
Les Olson Co
Mountain American Credit Union
Rocky Mountain Voice
Salt Lake Regional Medical Center
SCA paper
Siegfried & Jensen
Waste Management Inc
Workers Compensation Fund
Zions Bank
[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in Soccer, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Marketing, Stadium Pouring Rights, Stadium Signage, Venue Naming Rights | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dolphins stadium naming rights deal model for future?

Posted by ZA on May 5, 2009

From the buzz going around it sounds like the Miami Dolphins will enter into a one-year stadium naming rights agreement with Anaheuser Busch product, Land Shark Lager.  How does Land Shark Lager have the clout to pull off a major venue naming coup like this?  Landshark beer is part of the marketing arsenal of legendary performer and South Florida native, Jimmy Buffett.  Buffett promotes Landshark Lager under the flag of his “Margaritaville” products.

A Land Shark Lager deal with the Dolphins would be historic for a couple of reasons:
1) It would be the shortest length of time ever cut for an NFL venue naming rights deal.
2) The deal would include an in-kind component, when these venue naming rights are typically just cash.  Jimmy Buffett would play two concerts at the newly named stadium; the team/venue would receive the majority of the profit from these shows as payment on the naming rights deal.

I imagine the one-year deal will be extended if successful.  Of course Land Shark might only want this year when both the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl will bring significant exposure to the South Florida venue.  But it is the fact the team is willing to do trade out on their stadium name that is truly amazing.  The team probably does not have many other suitors willing to step up, so doing this deal insures them revenue in the short-term.  While still keeping open their options for a long-term venue naming rights deal when the economy turns around.

The concerts that are part of the deal is unique, but mostly because an entertainer has never been involved in stadium naming rights.  Payments in kind have been used in many stadium deals, but they are typically only a small portion of the deal or for signage in the stadium, not the entire venue naming rights.  For example the New York Yankees agreed to a deal to include the Casio brand on the outfield wall in exchange for service.

How many other professional sports venues might look for a similar type deal?
Lots of them.  A short-term deal that gives them some cash now, but doesn’t block their ability to sign a more lucrative long-term partnership in near future is attractive to a lot of teams.  The current economy has put a freeze on naming-rights deals, which are a huge source of revenue for many teams.

The downside of these type of short-term naming rights is over exposure.  The risk to teams is that by renting their stadium name for a year they could scare off potential long-term partners who don’t want their company name associated with a revolving door.  The home of the San Francisco Giants (AT&T Park) changed names three times in six years due to acquisitions in the telecom industry, so many fans still refer to it with the original Pac Bell Park name. Corporations could shy away from venues where they think their brand association will be hard to connect due to frequent name changes.

But for teams without stadium naming rights deals the upside of these short-term deals could be too lucrative to pass up.  I’m sure many of them will be watching closely to see how the Dolphins fare in their deal with Land Shark beer.  As I’m certainly many corporations will be eyeing the success of the deal from a brand building perspective.  That is what makes this Land Shark Lager and Miami Dolphins partnership such a historic endeavor in venue naming rights spectrum.  Success will breed a lot of imitation, failure could end it for everyone.

Posted in NFL, Stadium Signage, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Budweiser gives up rooftop overlooking Wrigley

Posted by ZA on April 19, 2009

If you ask someone to name the brands most associated with Wrigley Field, that person would undoubtedly include Budweiser on their list.  That is because for years the King of Beers has been positioned in a prime location just across the street from Wrigley.  The iconic, red Budweiser sign was visible in the background of many photographs of the bleachers at Wrigley.  It has become part of the experience of attending a Cubbies home game.  Until now…

Anheuser-Busch decided to not renew the sign for the 2009 season.  A-B says they have sufficient signage within Wrigley Field that they no longer need the rooftop sign.  The Budweiser rooftop has been replaced with an advertising for Horseshoe Casino.  Me thinks this probably has something to “bitter contract dispute” that occurred between A-B and the building’s owner last fall.  Which needed a temporary restraining order from a Chicago judge to prevent the building owner from covering the Budweiser billboard during the Cubs playoffs run.

Advertising comes and goes.  Billboards are constantly being replaced.  So what is the big deal about this story?  I feel like the Budweiser rooftop belonged in the brand hall of fame.  It was an original idea that stood above the rest for decades.  It wasn’t so much an advertisement for beer as it was a part of the game day experience.  It will always rank as one of the top sports related branding vehicles in the history of advertising.

Posted in MLB, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing, Stadium Signage, Venue Information | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Fixing the recession: billionaires helping billionares

Posted by ZA on April 9, 2009

Maybe the solution to our current economic crisis is to have our richest citizens adopt a troubled corporation to help nurse that company back to health.  They would take their troubled company under their wing, in the same manner which they support charitable organizations.  Donating their time and money to get the company back in-shape.

Wait, that is already happening?  It’s happening in Detroit?  Yes, it’s true.  A Detroit billionaire is handing out freebies to some companies in his area that are struggling.

Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has enacted his own version of an economic stimulus plan.  He is using some of his billions that he made from pizza (Little Caesars franchises) to help out the big three automakers in his hometown.  Ilitch is providing free signage within Comerica Park this season for the troubled automakers from Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.  The three will be featured throughout the 2009 season in the outfield of Comerica Park.

GM already had signage in Comerica, but Chrysler and Ford did not.  The Tigers reportedly turned down offers of $500,000 or more for the free signage they are giving to the Detroit automakers.

Posted in MLB, Sports Marketing, Stadium Signage | Leave a Comment »

OKC Thunder finally put their name on display

Posted by ZA on February 17, 2009

You know it was a “midnight run” from Seattle to Oklahoma City when the team didn’t even have time to put their name on the court.  The new ownership snuck out of Seattle so quick that they did not have time to finish fixing up their new home in OKC.  All this time they’ve been playing as “Oklahoma City”; now they finally get to play on a court that says Oklahoma City Thunder.

By the way my favorite NBA star, Kevin Durant, has been playing great ball this year.  And at least one guy is starting to talk about it…a lot!  If he ever gets situated in a major media market Durant’s endorsement potential could go through the roof.  Because besides being an extremely talented ballplayer, he’s a great guy as well.

Posted in NBA, Stadium Signage | Leave a Comment »

Did Under Armour default on deal with Cubs?

Posted by ZA on January 23, 2009

This appears to be turning into a case of ‘he said, she said’ between the Chicago Cubs and Under Armour. The argument is whether UA reneged on a sponsorship deal they signed with the Cubs or the Cubs cancelled the deal. The original deal was supposed to be 3-years and included in-stadium signage for Under Armour on the outfield walls at Wrigley Field.  2009 would have been the third year of the deal.

The Cubs fired first saying that UA was backing out of the deal and reneging on a promised extension. Supposedly Under Armour sent a letter to the Cubs in December saying that they would not pay for the deal in 2009.

Now the Sports Business Journal reports that Under Armour responded that the Cubs are the one’s who cancelled their deal. A Under Armour spokesman said the Cubs wanted to renegotiate before the original deal was done, and the two sides could not agree on an extension.  UA says that then the Cubs were the one’s that cancelled the third year of their original 3-year deal.

Who to believe in this situation? I would guess that both sides have a point, but it sounds to me like the Cubs might have accepted a verbal agreement that UA is not willing to honor anymore (the 5-year extension).  The fallout from that seems to have prompted someone to cancel the remaining year on their existing deal.  My guess is court documents will reveal shortly whether that was Under Armour or the Cubs.

The question in my mind is that if Under Armour defaulted on their sponsorship deal due to poor performance.  Could that be a sign that they are in bigger trouble financial (given the current economic crisis) than they are letting on.  And could that mean that my predicted acquisition of Under Armour by Nike could happen in 2009.  Stay tuned…

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, MLB, Sponsorship Deals, Stadium Signage | Leave a Comment »

NBA changes ad decision on liquor

Posted by ZA on January 22, 2009

“Better the devil that you know than the devil that you don’t know.”  I think that expression is apt for this story.

Due to the tough economic times the NBA has decided to reverse its ban against in-stadium liquor signage.  The ban prevented liquor advertisements from being located courtside, or anywhere else in the stadium that could wind up being seen on a television broadcast.  Teams were previously allowed to sign deals with liquor companies, but had to restrict the signage to areas out of view of tv cameras.

The NBA is not the only league to go down this path.  Major League Baseball, Nascar and the NHL all have previously overturned this same regulation in their own leagues.  They now allow liquor advertisers to position themselves so that they will appear on those leagues television broadcasts.

Although these decision are assuredly not popular with organizations like MADD, they are necessary to keep new sponsor dollars coming in during this recession.  Liquor sales are not going to be greatly impacted by the downturn, so that segment is one of the few that has sponsorship dollars to spend.

I can’t blame the NBA, in these tough financial times you have to do whatever is possible to stay afloat.  They are choosing to take the dollars available to them rather than face the unknown consequences of not getting that money.

Posted in MLB, Nascar, NBA, NHL, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Marketing, Stadium Signage | 2 Comments »

Telestra Dome to become Etihad Airways Dome

Posted by ZA on October 24, 2008

Australia’s Telestra Dome, the top venue in the country for Australian Rules Football, is going to be rebranded with the name of a top Middle East airline.  On March 1, 2009 the Telestra Dome will change to the Etihad Airways Dome, and the United Arab Emirates airline will also receive in-stadium signage.  Terms for the 5 year deal  were not disclosed.

Posted in Sponsorship Deals, Stadium Signage, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | Leave a Comment »