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— Among the facilities named for other problem-plagued companies are Conseco Fieldhouse (Indiana Pacers); Ford Field (Detroit Lions); General Motors Place (Vancouver Canucks); Qwest Field (Seattle Seahawks); Savvis Center (St. Louis Blues); and Reliant Stadium (Houston Texans). Last year, Reliant was officially charged by the Justice Department with manipulating the California energy market during the early 2000 crisis. In 2000, Savvis stock sold for $28. Stock of the money-losing tech/telecom company now sells for 51 cents.

Are there some good companies that have made naming-rights deals? Yes. Qualcomm, Bank of America, Anheuser-Busch, Coors (now Molson Coors), Miller beer, Mellon, Heinz, Home Depot, PNC, Safeco, Staples, Target, Wachovia, for some. But frankly, they are the exceptions.

Defenders (mostly the hucksters who make the deals) say the failure of so many companies that put shareholders' money in naming rights is just happenstance. It's a curse. A jinx. A statistical fluke.

But others say that managements afflicted by hubris and overly expansive egos are quite often the kind that are seduced by the naming-rights game. I tend to take the latter position.

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