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The Absurdity of Corporate Branding of Sports Venues

09/11/2012

Game 2 of the 2012 season opener of Monday Night Football, featured the San Diego Chargers v. Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum in Oakland. Wait a sec…O.co? What happened to the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium? Even announcer Chris Berman said “O.co” like he had soap in his mouth.

The stadium which opened in 1966 has been known as Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Network Associates Coliseum and McAfee Coliseum, before going back to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, was changed to Overstock.com Coliseum in April 2011 before being renamed again, in June 2011, to O.co Coliseum. Ugh.

We’ve seen this in other cities as well. Take Houston. The formerly high-flying Enron lent its name to a beautiful new stadium. Now it’s known as Reliant Stadium.

My least favorite though is the Mall of America Field in Minneapolis. It’s a fittingly nebulous name for an awful sports venue.

Mile High Stadium is now Sports Authority Field at Mile High. That’s branding?

NFL owners are looking to generate as much revenue as possible from every aspect of their business. It’s even likely corporate logos will be appearing on NFL jerseys soon. The concept of converting NFL to NASCAR in terms of sponsorship makes me uncomfortable. Fans love their teams…not their team’s sponsors. Why not follow Green Bay’s model. Keep it simple…sell some shares to average Joe’s and build a legacy that doesn’t require a name change every time a corporate sponsor goes belly up.

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