Maple Leaf Sports Enterprises is getting a large paycheck for naming rights at the arena.
There will be a new name attached to the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, as Maple Leaf Sports Enterprises’ deal with an airline is done and a bank has agreed to an estimated $800 million Canadian naming rights deal for 20 years. There really is no outcry from fans and customers about a corporate name on the stadium or an arena shingle. Corporate names have been on stadiums since 1927 when Chicago Cubs owner William Wrigley, who sold Wrigley gum, renamed his park Wrigley Field. Crosley Field in Cincinnati and Briggs Stadium in Detroit also had corporate names. The Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick would not approve the name change of St. Louis’s Sportsmen’s Park to Budweiser Stadium because it was so obvious that the stadium along with the Cardinals which was sold to Anheuser-Busch breweries in 1953 was going to be a promotional vehicle to sell beer. The St. Louis brewery got around that by putting out Busch beer and the stadium was named after the team owner.
For some reason the fans or customers do care about uniform advertising in baseball, football, hockey and basketball but in not soccer or NASCAR. The fans feel the uniform will be defaced and that is offensive. The NBA’s women’s league and development league has jersey advertising and now beginning this year, the NBA sold a small uniform space to corporate sponsors and that for some reason bothers people. NBA owners were treading lightly about the sale of uniform space almost concerned for the fear of offending fans. It should make no difference. The uniform isn’t a scared object, it is just a shirt that needs to be thrown in the laundry after usage. There is already advertising on the shirt, the shirt manufacturer’s logo. Sports owners sell every other space. It is just another outlet to place an ad.
NBA owners are selling space to sponsors on team shirts.