Naming ballparks

Repost because of blogger issue:

AT&T Park: Scoreboard

I went to AT&T park for my first couple of baseball games of the year last week. Anyone who can see my flickr photostream can tell I am a big baseball fan. Baseball is my favorite sport. I like it for many of the reasons other people dislike it. I like the slow pace and easy nature of the game. Any day I get to go to a baseball game, it is a great day. Since I went to this game with Dreamgirl, it was even better.

The Giants' new stadium has had three names in the past seven years. It went from being Pacific Bell Park, to SBC Park, and now AT&T park. The funny thing is that one company has owned the naming rights the whole time. SBC bought Pacific Bell back in 1997, a year after Pacific Bell bought the naming rights. They changed their name to AT&T because it is a better brand than SBC. It is the same the company, but it has chosen to change it's identity.

Not all the Signs have been changed yet. Some of the signs still say SBC Park. Other signs are missing and waiting for replacement. I had to laugh every time I saw one of these missing signs. I wonder how long it will take them to get all the signs up.

AT&T Park: Missing Signage

I have talked to a bunch of Giants fans about this. Most of them are annoyed by it. Almost all of the like the name Pacific Bell Park the best. That name has some sense of the city to it. People from San Francisco love it when you tell them their city is the capital of the Pacific.

What Was Pacific Bell Park

I know the Giants are getting paid a lot of money for the naming rights of their stadium. Since the Giants paid for this stadium to get build they can use every dime. The trend is for every sports team to get every penny the can. Sports is all about making as much money change hands as possible. If you pay attention to sports news you can see sports teams maximizing revenue all the time. They rarely seem like they consider the effects on their fans.

I think that sports teams undervalue the worth of their own brand. If they valued their brand they would put it on their stadium. If it was call Giant's Stadium people would be hearing that over and over again. If the naming rights to your stadium is worth $53 Million dollars over 20 seasons to Pacific Bell, how much would it be worth to the Giants?

Arturo Moreno realizes this value. He bought the naming rights back when it bought the Angels. He knows it is importance of marketing. He knows that the name of the stadium will mean something to the fans if they can relate to it. It is very bad for the fans to relate to a stadium three times in seven seasons. There is nothing the Giants can do because they sold the rights to the name. It is no good for AT&T to have the name of a brand that no long exists on the building.

scoreboard 2005

The Yankees are valued at over one billion dollars. They do that by having a strong brand and by putting money back into the club. They play at Yankee stadium, they do not play at Citibank Park. I think there is a real effect here. It is an effect that is larger in baseball than any other sport. I think the Giants are selling themselves short by selling the name of their park. Maybe in 2020 they will no longer need someone to own the name of their stadium.

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