I.D. crisis in the worlds of sports and entertainment

Posted by Fraser Trevor Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Wall Street meltdown is extending into the worlds of sports and entertainment, creating an identity crisis for arenas and teams that have received millions of dollars for trumpeting the names of financial companies that are now collapsing.
The Wachovia Center arena in Philadelphia, WaMu theaters at Madison Square Garden and in Seattle are among the venues with names facing an uncertain future. With the AIG name still on their jerseys, the soccer players of Manchester United — a British team — face the unusual prospect of advertising a company that is now under the control of the American government.Sponsorships and naming-rights deals have long been regarded as good marketing, but struggling companies may now have to face a dubious public wondering why, exactly, scarce funds are tied up in sports deals.
And while the public image of an arena or venue might emerge unscathed, "I would think that would be the top order of the day to get that (name) switched over," said Rob Vogel, president of The Bonham Group, which helps broker sponsorship and naming-rights deals. "It's in everyone's best interests to get that rebranded as quickly as possible."It's unclear at this point when or how a shakeup of stadium names might occur, because the market turmoil is so recent.

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