Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Naming Rights for Wrigley

In other news we've covered before, Sam Zell says that he won't hesitate to sell Wrigley's naming rights:

Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell said Tuesday he won't hesitate to sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field -- even if baseball purists don't like the idea.

"Wrigley is an obvious world-wide icon and Wrigley Field is world-wide known. But, in the world of economics, when I bought the Tribune, I didn't get a discount because I wasn't going to use the naming rights that field represents," Zell said in an interview on the CNBC program "Squawk Box."

"Perhaps the Wrigley Co. will decide that, after getting it for free for so long, that it's time to pay for it."
Actually, going after the Wrigley Co. for the rights is probably the only smart play here. Any other company would have to know that changing the name of the building at 1060 W. Addison would bring nothing but bad publicity, wouldn't they? I predict boycotts of whatever product's or company's name is slapped on the building. Sure, the boycotts wouldn't amount to much in and of themselves -- they never do -- but the press would eat it up. Knowing all of this, even if Zell could get someone to bite, won't there have to be a tremendous discount in the value of those naming rights?

If you're the Wrigley Co., you might very well feel that you're the target of a shakedown right now. And maybe you are. Still, there are ways to deal with it. BTF poster Adam G has a clever, albeit cynical, idea to lessen the blow:

[I]f I was the Wrigley Co., I would be all over using this for a marketing campaign. For example, they come out with a Special Line of Chewing Gum where 5 cents out of every sale goes towards the "naming rights fund" or the "save Wrigley field fund". The company will match every sale dollar for dollar. They would gain enormous good will with the community, sell many many additional packs of gum, and essentially end up buying the naming rights for half price because the public would be paying half
I like the cut of that man's jib. Cut his hair, fit him for a pinstripe suit and have him at a desk in the boiler room after lunch!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, it should be called wrigley field, and Wrigley should pay for it. Didn't they have a reputation for being cheapskates, though?

64cardinals said...

Having the "right" to do something doesn't mean having the "mandate" to do it.

Believe it or not, there are a few things in life that should transcend the almighty dollar.

Maybe the Cubs aren't cursed. Maybe they have just displeased the baseball gods and don't deserve to win a World Series.

Anonymous said...

No matter what the name ... everyone (media, fans) will call it Wrigley Field. Only the Cubs and MLB will call it Wal-Mart Park.

Voros McCracken said...

Back in my bike messenger days, we used to like the routes to the Wrigley Building. They have free gum at the front desks on every floor.

Or at least they used to.

The worst ever naming rights purchase ever is the United Center in Chicago. It was three years before I knew United Airlines had purchased the naming rights.

I'd love to see the evidence that any company in recent memory has come out ahead a single dime from naming rights.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if the folks at Century 21 purchased the naming rights, they could figure out a way to turn it into decent marketing. Something like "Century 21....because we all know how Century 20 turned out."

All of you could have gone without this comment.

Anonymous said...

In response to Sam Zell's declaration yesterday, some cubs fans have set up a petition where you can pledge to boycott the products/services of any company that is compelled to buy the naming rights of Wrigley Field.

Site here: