06 July 2005

"Insert your company's name here" Arena

Companies are playing hardball with Arena from the SF Chronicle.

The article highlights the Coliseum Authority's continuing struggle to find a naming rights' sponsor for the Oakland Arena.

The Bonham Group represents the fifth attempt at securing sponsorship in eight years. The Warriors tried their hand beginning in 1997 when they signed their 20-year lease to play at the Arena. The team struck out and the Coliseum Authority took over the search, only to whiff on three separate pitches.

The Warriors resumed the hunt when the two sides settled their legal issues in 2003, agreeing to share the revenue from any sponsorship deal. They hired the Bonham Group 18 months ago to begin looking anew. Again, and this could be the hardest sell yet.

Bonham said it himself in 2001: "If you've taken the product to corporate America and corporate America said, 'No,' you're basically damaged goods," he told The Chronicle then. "It's a lot harder to reopen doors than to open doors. "

Part of this comes from the fact that the Arena, despite its renovation, is still not considered "new." Add to that the Warriors lackluster performance until recently and the HP Pavilion's better track record for attracting shows and events, and it becomes difficult to get a company to pony up $1 million or more per season for naming rights. It becomes a vicious cycle as well, as the revenue shortfall that comes from not having the name sold forces the Authority to drive up costs on Arena events, push even more acts to San Jose instead.

Worse, should a ballpark start construction in the next 2-3 years in the East Bay, it would probably give naming rights bidders pause since a "new" venue may be considered sexier than a refurbished one. It could also drive down the price of naming rights for both venues.


Anonymous said...

Why didn't Network Associates take over the rights in 1997 when they took over the rights to the Coliseum? It would only seem fitting to call it the "McAfee Arena" since for years before the entire complex was known simply as "The Oakland Coliseum". Why don't they try to strike a deal with McAfee and rename the whole complex the McAfee Colisuem Complex and get this whole mess over with.

Marine Layer said...

The public financing deals for the arena and stadium were separate, so they had to be negotiated separately. For the arena, the Warriors first had the task of finding a naming rights sponsor, but after three years that turned up fruitless, so they left it to the Coliseum Authority. The stadium pretty much had suitors nearly from the beginning and proceeded on a different track. It wouldn't surprise me if Network Associates/McAfee were given a proposal for both venues, but they may have balked at the cost. I would too, considering the fact that the whole complex is often referred to as "McAfee Coliseum," meaning they're getting more naming rights value for their buck than the average bear.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say you're doing a great job and wish to express my gratitude for your knowledge of the subject.

As for the arena, I thought Ross Stores was going to sponsor the arena. I seem to remember reading an article either in the Trib or Chron regarding such a transaction. Also, I don't understand the mentality regarding the arean. It's really a brand new venue with the exception of it's exterior. But it's pretty much a new arena. It's also the best looking of the all the arenas including the one down in SJ.

The Cactus Leaguer said...

Hey ML - Has there been any reaction in the East Bay baseball world to the article about how the stadium authority will have to cough up an additional $3 million to market PSL's? I know it has no direct impact, but still, it doesn't exactly inspire public sentiment to help build a new baseball stadium.

Marine Layer said...

The news about the PSL remarketing has largely gone unnoticed. It's sad commentary that most East Bay residents are resigned to the idea that the Coliseum renovations are going to cost local taxpayers an arm and a leg into the distant future.

Wolff has said himself that locals are not too keen on PSL's in the area, so that limits or even eliminates PSL's as a potential source of upfront revenue. Yet it was hugely successful in San Francisco, and probably would also be successful in San Jose and Sacramento as well.