Sunday, May 10, 2009

'LandShark Stadium' Is Just a One-Year Thing

If you remember, earlier this month I touched on the Miami Dolphins selling the naming rights to their stadium to Land Shark Lager. The brew, partly owned by Jimmy Buffett, is getting its name on the big stage.

The only thing is that this is just a one-year thing. The "Dolphins' LandShark Stadium" will last through the regular season and playoffs. The deal ends just before the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl ... which are to be held in the stadium.

This is either brilliant or stupid. I'm leaning towards the latter. Just because you name your arena/stadium something doesn't guarantee that everyone will know it. Quick! Name the arena the Boston Celtics play in? Most of you do as I do and refer to it as the Boston Garden. Doing one year deals will confuse everyone even more and will actually decrease the value of any stadium rights.

The buzz is that the Phins cannot secure a long-term partner for the naming rights due to the tough economic times. Aside from the official naming of the stadium, everyone will refer to it as Dolphin Stadium.

The buzz also is that the Phins may be doing this to cater to Buffett. Buffett will perform several shows at the newly renamed stadium and they would like to bring him on as a minority owner.

Of course, it could be quite a trend setter. With the economy like it is, it might be best just to make deals in the short term. After all, how many stadium names have changed due to bankruptcies and takeovers? How'd that Enron deal work out in Houston? Or the First Union ... I mean Wachovia ... or is it Wells Fargo Spectrum in Philly?

I look at it like the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl will always be the Rose Bowl. But they sell some of the naming rights by saying "Rose Bowl presented by AT&T". Maybe we will see that elsewhere. Maybe we will have Cowboys Stadium presented by Nike.

Yeah, that will hurt any long term deals but it could make the short term ones a bit more lucrative.

This will be closely watched but, ultimately, just a flash in the pan. I don't see this catching on.

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