There’s been a little bit of carping lately regarding the transmogrification of The Arena Formerly Known As The Ford Center. The objections vary, but they tend to fall into two general areas: (1) Cheasapeake Energy’s chairman, Aubrey McClendon, is a founding partner of the Oklahoma City Thunder and owns a portion of the team, and he shouldn’t be committing corporate funds to something that might conceivably accrue to his personal benefit; (2) the city of Oklahoma City, which owns the facility, isn’t making all that much from the sale of the naming rights to CHK.
The latter point is pretty irrelevant, since the city’s lease to the team specifies exactly who gets to sell the naming rights — the team — and the amount of the city’s cut of the proceeds. As for the former, well, the idea is to raise Cheaspeake’s profile, not McClendon’s, and frankly, Aubrey’s probably anxious for a little more anonymity.
Marginally more interesting than the objections, at least to me, was the actual price of those rights:
The 12-year naming rights agreement has an initial annual cost of $3.0 million with a 3.0% annual escalation.
So we’re talking close to $40 million in one of the smaller NBA markets. Compare that to what is paid in the Bigger Leagues:
The Oakland Coliseum, home stadium of the Raiders and the A’s, will be renamed Overstock.com Coliseum. The six-year naming-rights deal will cost the Utah-based e-tailer “a modest $7.2 million,” reports the New York Times baseball blog, Bats.
Oh, and there’s this one minor detail:
Overstock is rebranding itself as O.co (.co is a top-level domain that’s become a popular alternative to .com), and the company retains the right to rename the Coliseum.
Which they did, in June. Locals, unsurprisingly, still call it simply the Coliseum; they weren’t impressed by all the nomenclature adjustments across the bay at Candle3Monsterstick Park. This may or may not explain the bargain price paid by the yocos at O.co.
And just yesterday, Nancy Friedman, from whom I borrowed that Oakland story, tweeted this:
I hope they remodel Oakland’s O.co Coliseum. Then it could be a rococo O.coCo.
Suddenly all the upcoming ‘Peake jokes don’t seem so horrible.