The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Selling stadium, park names adds debate, funds

By Chris Cates/sports editor

In case you hadn’t noticed, advertising plays a big role in professional sports. From company-named stadiums and ballparks to field signs and jersey logos, advertisements can be found everywhere these days.

Is it a good or bad thing though? Personally, while I get sick of seeing Viagara and the like advertised behind homeplate during every pitch, I can understand that the methods used to advertise are effective in some cases.

Some college football teams are sponsored by UnderArmour. Therefore, that’s exclusively what they wear in games, and it’s advertised on their jerseys very clearly. I can see sponsorships as very effective since middle and high school football players see the logos and want to wear UnderArmour.

What I don’t see as effective—at least in price to effectiveness ratio—is the naming of stadiums. Simply because my team’s ballpark is called Minute Maid Park, it doesn’t mean that I’ll purchase any more Minute Maid than usual.

But for the rights to the name of that stadium, Minute Maid agreed to pay the Houston Astros $100 million over 28 years. That is an almost-incomprehensible amount of cash stretched over more than a quarter century.

Only baseball fans who have heard of Minute Maid Park and those who attend Houston games can be counted among those who purchased Minute Maid because of the stadium name. And it’s hard to imagine $100 million in revenue just from those people, even in a 28-year period. So one is inclined to ask why companies pay so much for the naming rights if the end-result profit is minimal or, more likely, nonexistent.

The Texas Rangers recently went the opposite way of most franchises, changing the ballpark’s name from Ameriquest Field to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. I am very supportive of this move because of the direction advertising has been going in recent years. But the team has lost a big chunk of money as companies pay a lot for advertisements, especially ballpark names.

Think about the number of people who attend games or watch on television each year. Now consider that figure for all four major sports and NASCAR, golf, soccer, etc. Fans make an enormous heap of people to work with, and, thus, we arrive at the current state of advertising.

Generally, it’s win-win. The teams make money when they’re paid by the advertisers, and the advertisers make a profit because of the sheer numbers available to them in sports viewing audiences.

College football is perhaps the most affected by sports advertising, at least to the naked eye. One look at the bowl games confirms this suspicion. If one of the 32 end-of-year games isn’t named something along the lines of “McDonalds Big Mac Bowl” (for the record, that one is fictional), then it’s the So-and-So Bowl Presented by McDonalds.

It’s gotten to the point of laughter as teams invited to the Papajohns.com bowl must wonder if the main event is the game or the Web site.

If you’re not a fan of all the ads you see at sporting events, you’re likely out of luck as this trend won’t be ending any time soon.

The teams need the revenue from advertising to function; the advertisers recognize the profit opportunity present in this field, and those facts will remain constant until pigs fly (or people stop watching sports and attending games).

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