When teams sell their naming rights, they have to be careful. They can't always sell to the highest bidder. That's because all it takes is a corporate scandal (Enron, see Astros) or a bankruptcy (PSInet, Ravens) for the deal to have a negative effect on the team. With that, we bring you University of Phoenix, the Apollo Group-owned organization which paid $154.5 million over 20 years to be on the Arizona Cardinals' new stadium. On the way to profits, the online university has a graduation rate of 16 percent or lower, according to the New York Times. That's compared to a national graduation rate average of about 55 percent. This isn't necessarily a scandal, but it is an issue that the Cardinals should start contemplating. What message does its naming rights partner's graduation rates say about the Cardinals brand -- a brand that, thanks to its record in recent years, needs all the help it can get.
Time To Wine?
Most sports leagues have official beer sponsorships, but it might be time to consider wine deals. Nielsen found that wine consumption among U.S. sports fans was up $14.60 in 2006 to $81.40 per household. The highest spending fan, believe it or not, was in households with at least one fan of the LPGA ($125). Tennis fans came in second ($111.90) and PGA fans finished third at $109.40 -- spending for them actually went down in 2006 by some 30 percent. The biggest gain was among NFL fans who spent more than 60 percent more on wine this year than last year. An NFL fan household now spends $94.30. Sports figures who own wine brands include: Mike Ditka, Tom Seaver, Greg Norman, Joe Montana, Mario Andretti and John Madden.
Odds & Ends
Phil Mickelson won Pebble Beach on Sunday, but he also won our award for the least logoed golfer. Aside from his Bearing Point visor and the Callaway logo on his left shirt sleeve, we couldn't spot any other sponsorship branding.
James Hylton, 72, failed in his attempt to become the oldest driver in the Daytona 500 field. With all the stories written about him, at least his sponsors -- Retirement Living Television and GrahamFestUSA.com got some exposure.
I'll be live from the Westminster Dog Show today on CNBC TV to talk about the business of show dogs
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