If Only God Had Had Corporate Sponsorship…

… in the book of Genesis, when the world is created. Can you imagine the loot He could have landed for the naming rights of every animal, mineral, and vegetable?

If God was unlucky to toil in the days before corporate sponsorship, at least the Chicago White Sox, thank God, are not so unlucky. They have just announced that for the next three seasons, their evening home games will begin at 7:11 p.m. instead of the customary 7:05 p.m. or 7:35 p.m. Why? Because 7-Eleven, the convenience store chain, is paying them $500,000 to do so.

In the past, I’ve touched upon some unlikely new venues for advertising, including fresh eggs and airline barf bags. But I have to admit that there is something particularly creative about affixing a value to time itself, as the White Sox and 7-Eleven have done.


mhertz

You may have noticed that Toronto Blue Jays home games start at 7:07 (or 12:37, or 1:07, etc.), but I haven't been able to figure out why. Any ideas?

Crosbie

I admire names that exploit existing conjunctions, e.g. Park Drive cigarettes that used to be advertised next to the ashtray on many automatic transmissions.

Sportsfrog

Mhertz,

Obviously, that's the Canadian exchange rate.

relaxing

Douglas Coupland made reference to this in 1995. Does anyone know of an earlier reference to the idea of corporate sponsorship of a point in time?

Garry

mhertz: Perhaps because their first home game was played on April 7, 1977?

badger99

yes - and the Red Sox are putting their entire 2007 season up for naming rights. At the beginning of each broadcast, it will be "Welcome to the 2007 Red Sox season, brought to you by Aflac" or some similarly ridiculous line. They think that they can get 3 or 4 million for this.

Lars Plougmann

Instead of naming stuff after companies, many companies named themselves after animals, some after minerals and a few after vegetables. I have seen many examples in zoos of animals being sponsored by companies bearing the animals' name. Zoo management sometimes complain that lots of companies want to sponsor the penguins, the lions etc but that there are fewer bids for ants, spiders and snakes.

doncoffin

What I find amusing about this story is that it's on the New York Times web site, but the chicago Tribune does not have a locally-originated story--they also have the NY Times story on their web site. Talk about getting scooped!

Gaijin51

Joe Dimaggio was one game short of cashing in on his hitting streak. If he had run it to 57 games, then Heinz 57 sauce would have sponsered him.

I vaguely remember some spoof of baseball announcers talking where absolutely everything they said was sponsored by somebody.

kangarool

Not exactly the same as 7:11, but close enough: As a work of fiction, David Foster Wallace's 'Infinite Jest' nailed the "sponsored time" idea beautifully and surely presciently... when he imagined a future a very near wherein corporations sponsored entire years. Next year isn't 2007, it's "The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment".

Could happen any day now...

breelee

The latest in seemingly silly sponsorships -- the naming rights to the home field for NFL team Arizona Cardinals has been purchased and renamed "University of Phoenix Stadium."
...
Sure, no confusion there.

Jun Okumura

In Japan, the baseball teams themselves are sponsored by corporations, who give us names like the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. (Nippon Ham is Japan's largest manufacturer of ham and sausages. The team is located in Hokkaido.)

The biggest name is the Yomiuri Giants. Yomiuri has by far the largest circulation among Japanese daily newspapers, and its sponsorship of the baseball team is a major reason for this. (It's somewhat more complicated than that, and involves radio and TV among other things, but this'll do for now.) This media sponsorship works both ways, and the Yomiuri sports pages often look like a Giants fanzine.

daveje

It's a nice tie in for White Sox fans since a lot of them derive their income from 7-11. Either working for them or robbing them.

xt

Consider soccer clubs in Europe and Latin America. Corporations shell out millions to buy rights to have their brands written across the jerseys of the players. Each player acts as a running (and shooting and passing) billboard for the ninety-minutes of a match.

Plus, the countless number of shirts bought by fans to support their teams. Since the shirts sponsor changes every few year, the company name on the clothing gives an idea of when the person wearing the shirts might have purchased them.

xt

Consider soccer clubs in Europe and Latin America. Corporations shell out millions to buy rights to have their brands written across the jerseys of the players. Each player acts as a running (and shooting and passing) billboard for the ninety-minutes of a match.

Plus, the countless number of shirts bought by fans to support their teams. Since the shirts sponsor changes every few years, the company name on the clothing gives an idea of when the person wearing the shirts might have purchased them.

Jun Okumura

Consider the possibilties for college sports. Imagine how much sponsorship money USC could get from a single source...

Gab

That was funny Jun. Took me a second, but well worth it!

Mike D

For 7-11, that was probably a 500k well spent... not necessarily for the purchase itself, but by doing it they just got a ton of "free" press advertising. It's kind of like the casino buying the $28k grilled cheese sandwich on Ebay...

It worked, because now I'm craving a Slurpee.

Jun Okumura

And do you think Dole would sponsor UC Santa Cruz, Gab?

toml

I noticed on a recent trip back East, that Comcast Cable has trademarked the word "Faster"