Sunday

Collegiate Commercialization


I found the original post while reading Brain Woo, and it made me think- How would Florida State students and alumnae feel if Doak Campbell was renamed after a sponsor? IDK that I would like that very much.... But then again, if it could off set an increase in ticket costs.. or even be able to use the money for scholarships and such, then I might feel a little better?? What are your thoughts?

In an announcement made earlier this week, the new home for University of Louisville hoops will be called the KFC Yum! Center. Yum Brands, which owns the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands, signed a 10-year, $13.5 million deal, according to this SI article. This is the second University of Louisville sporting facility that displays the name of a major corporation. The other being Papa John's Stadium, where the Louisville Cardinal's football team plays. The announcement of this news brings up an intriguing question: Is the commercialization of collegiate stadiums and arenas inevitable? Time will tell, but I predict: that classic stadium and arena names, such as Neyland Stadium, Cameron Indoor Arena, and Folsom Field, will be around for a while, but not forever. I believe that the majority of collegiate facilities will eventually have ties to major corporations and here are two reasons why:
1. History - The NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB have all been at this juncture before and there are very few venues in these professional leagues that lack a corporate naming rights deal. That's a good sign that corporations can draw a direct link between venue naming rights and incremental revenue. If they couldn't draw a link, many of these stadiums and arenas would no longer don a corporate name. As the NCAA's major conferences sign lucrative TV contracts and programs build larger sporting facilities, corporations are going to want to get their brand involved to capitalize on the added exposure. Not to mention, collegiate fan bases are some of the most passionate in all of sports and corporations have realized that this passion can be leveraged into brand preference, which can ultimately lead to increased sales. If all signs point towards profits, as naming rights in professional sports have, then the commercialization of collegiate sporting venues is inevitable.
2. Winning is Everything - The landscape of collegiate athletics has changed over time. In the past, winning in collegiate athletics was defined by the score at the end of the game. Today's definition of winning is much broader. It includes signing the best recruiting classes, having boosters with the deepest pockets, and building the best stadiums and arenas. Many programs today will hire athletic directors solely on their ability to run capital campaigns for new facilities. Because facilities play such a vital role in the success of collegiate programs, it is imperative that schools win in this category. In order to win in the facilities game, programs have to keep up with the Jones' and add state-of-the-art facility expansions. To fund these additional constructions projects, a program can utilize two avenues; private donors and/or corporate sponsors. Practical sense says that corporate dollars will always beat out private dollars, and consequently programs will turn to corporations to raise enough money to build the latest and greatest facilities. In exchange for funds, corporations are now requiring that the the new facilities bear the name of their company to lengthen its brand exposure. As winning, in the sense of facilities, becomes more expensive, more corporations are going to be looked upon for funding, which means more corporate names on collegiate stadiums and arenas.
What are your predictions on the commercialization of collegiate stadiums and arenas?

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