Nov 14, 2011 at 03:21 PM
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The Six Golden Rules Of Naming Rights

With the recession, the velocity of naming rights deals seemed to wane, but over the past few months we've seen a resurgence in action, ranging from Mercedes Benz' recent deal to rename the New Orleans SuperDome to St. James Park's name change after 119 years. According to Synergy Sponsorship CEO Tim Crow, corporate sponsors should follow six golden rules when considering naming rights opportunities. Here they are:

1. The stadium must have only one short name. If there are two names, one of which is the sponsor’s, guess which one the media, and the fans, will edit out? ‘The Reebok Stadium’ works: so does ‘The Emirates’. Conversely, horrors like ‘Sports James’ Park’ always quite deservedly bomb.

2. Avoid re-naming an existing stadium with heritage. If you do, you run the risk of being edited out (The Oval) or the object of acrimony ( James’ Park). It’s much easier to start with the blank canvas of a new stadium. But don’t forget to follow rule number one.

3. The exception to this is when a stadium or arena is unloved and/or decrepit and as a result is going to be re-built and/or re-launched – for example the way the Millennium Dome became The O2 and Lansdowne Road became the Aviva Stadium. But again, don’t forget to follow rule number one.

4. You must pay enough. There was an outcry in Leicester against Walker’s – previously a relatively popular local employer – when it was announced that the company had paid only £150,000 per year for 10 years to sponsor the new Leicester City Stadium. This was unfavourably compared with the millions the company had spent using Gary Lineker in its TV advertising.

5. You must be in it for the long term, for two reasons: to demonstrate your commitment (see also rule number four) and also because if you do it for long enough, the return on investment in terms of media impressions alone will be enormous – as long as you’ve followed rule number one.

6. Once you’ve followed rules 1-5, the hard work really starts – gaining the respect and admiration of the fans and the media for what you’re doing.

Should there be any other golden rules of naming rights? If so, please drop your ideas in comments.