Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

What’s A Better Investment: Star QB or Facility?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Timex will put its name on the New York Giants practice facility for the next 15 years, a deal the paper says is worth an estimated $35 million.

What the story doesn’t mention is that the New York Giants star quarterback Eli Manning has a deal with Citizen Watch, obviously a Timex competitor.

Most watch companies that have gone into the sports endorsement game have gone after athletes. Citizen has deals with Manning, Paula Creamer and Matt Kenseth. Tag Heuer has deals with Maria Sharapova and Tiger Woods. Rolex has deals with Roger Federer and Phil Mickelson and Tissot has locked up Danica Patrick.

Timex hasn’t really gotten into the high profile athlete game. The only official deals I ever heard Timex associated with were the Ironman and the New York Marathon.

So what’s a better endorsement? A team deal with your name on the practice facility? Or sponsoring the team’s star quarterback.

I see negatives with both.

Practice facilities don’t have life. Fans don’t really attend practice facilities and they don’t really have anywhere close to the naming rights value of stadiums since games are never broadcast from there and journalists won't feel the same responsibility in quoting the name of the facility.

At the same time, Manning –- like almost all the other watch endorsers –- doesn’t wear a watch while competing, so the only time you ever see him associated with Citizen is when he’s in advertising.

Since I value your opinion, let’s open it up to you to make the call on this.

Update: The other interesting part of this story is that the Loews Corporation, which is headed up by the Tisch family that owns the Giants, sold the Bulova watch brand it owned to Citizen for $250 million in 2007.

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