09 August 2009

Verizon Coliseum?

Matier and Ross report that telecom giant Verizon may be in talks with the Coliseum Authority to do a short term naming rights deal at the stadium. It would be a "five-year, multimillion-dollar deal." Yes, we had just gotten used to one season as the rightfully named Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, but the City of Oakland and Alameda County both need the cash badly, so I'm not against it one bit.

Color me surprised that a deal is being done, considering the states of the tenant franchises. It is a short deal which may point to positive talks between the Authority and the Raiders, whose lease ends after the 2010 season.

Ready for yet another corporate name that won't stick? As fans, we complain about abrupt name changes and the concept of naming rights in general. However, the corporate entities don't really care that much about whether or not we use the names. They care about media exposure, and that's what naming rights provide. It'll be interesting to see what Verizon does strategically. It already has a major high profile venue in Verizon Center arena in DC, plus a strong regional presence in the Northeast with Verizon Wireless Arena, a smaller venue in New Hampshire.

It's not a bad idea as Verizon may want to counter AT&T, which was rumored as the naming rights partner for the new Cowboys Stadium before the economy went into the tank. Verizon's only major presence in the Bay Area is as a wireless carrier, as AT&T is the predominant carrier for land-based services. Verizon may also work in an early termination clause (as McAfee did), which they could employ if one or more of the Coliseum tenants leave before the end of the deal.