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Posts Tagged ‘Land Shark Lager’

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.

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