SBD/Issue 13/Facilities & Venues

Sticking To It? Can November Vote Nix Naming Rights Deal?

Monster Cable Founder Lee
Announces Naming-Rights Deal

The naming rights for Candlestick Park have been sold under a four-year, $6M deal with Monster Cable Products, and in San Jose, John Ryan notes S.F. Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez is “spearheading Proposition H, an initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot that would declare Candlestick Park the stadium’s official name.” While S.F. City Attorney Dennis Herrera said that the deal with Monster Cable “will stand regardless of the election,” consumer group Commercial Alert “sees a court fight if voters reject the sale.” Commercial Alert this summer led efforts to stop MLB from advertising “Spider-Man 2” on its bases (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/29). Herrera spokesperson Matt Dorsey said even if Proposition H is approved, it would not “invalidate an existing agreement that has already been approved by the mayor and the board.” It could only “preclude future agreements to sell the naming rights to the stadium, or any publicly owned stadium at Candlestick Point.” Sam Singer, a spokesperson for 49ers co-Owner DeBartolo Corp., said, “I look at Gonzalez’s move as a quarterback sneak, and it’s not going to work. Proposition H and Matt Gonzalez don’t really matter any more” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/29). But Commercial Alert Exec Dir Gary Ruskin said that the city attorney “has yet to make a ruling” on Proposition H’s potential impact on the deal. Ruskin: “We think the 49ers will eventually have to go to the voters one way or another” (SAC. BEE, 9/29).

MONSTER CLASH: In L.A., David Colker wonders, “Which Monster is behind the deal?” Monster Cable “is far less famous than” Massachusetts-based Internet job board Monster, and Monster Cable execs “knew that calling the stadium Monster Park could cause some confusion. But they reckoned that it was more cool than Monster Cable Park.” However, The Bonham Group Chair & CEO Dean Bonham said, “If you are buying naming rights to give your company more recognition and you end up giving another company the recognition, that is a major issue.” Kevin Mullins, a spokesperson for the job board, said, “Anytime the Monster name is used, it can only benefit us.” Monster Cable Founder Noel Lee added of Monster’s orange blimp that flies over sporting events, “Every time they fly a blimp over the Super Bowl people think it’s us” (L.A. TIMES, 9/29). But in S.F., Benny Evangelista writes Monster Cable “will benefit from having its brand constantly pushed to football fans watching on those same home-entertainment systems that may one day need new audio and video cables.” Gartner Dataquest VP Martin Reynolds: “Monster [Cable] has built a fabulous brand. Because their value is almost entirely in their brand, they are very profitable, and they plan careful product line extensions to grow revenue” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/29).

ON THE CHEAP? In Seattle, Art Thiel calls the deal a “breathtaking act of witlessness,” writing of the price tag, "The Niners’ share won’t buy a decent backup cornerback. And the city’s share is supposed to go to the parks and recreation budget, which is nice, but won’t even pay for used-condom retrieval at Golden Gate Park. It’s one thing to be stupid, and another to be bad business people” (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 9/29).

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