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Volume 20 No. 45
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Ten characteristics to look for in naming-rights prospects

I am still waiting for the day when an agency of record or top marketing executive for a major company tells me that he/she has funds from a special naming-rights budget to enter into a long-term agreement.

A naming-rights budget — who ever heard of such a thing? That is why selling naming rights is so unique and so challenging.

I’m often asked what type of characteristics one should look for in a brand that

could be a prospect to invest in a long-term naming-rights agreement. Here’s my take: Look to find C-level executives who have the vision, passion and authority to reallocate naming-rights dollars from multiple budgets, which may include out-of-home, traditional media; online/social media; community relations; hospitality; human resources; and, the most underappreciated, reinvestment of direct business dollars.

Here are 10 characteristics that are essential in uncovering a naming-rights prospect:

Aspires to be a dominant local market leader (top corporate citizen)
Has a vision to differentiate and build a loyal fan base
Has a large amount of employees, vendors and customers to leverage venue usage

Sales/business development
Seeks an opportunity to use the venue as a sales channel and showroom for products/services
Wants access to the team, venue and owner’s business network
Has the propensity to reinvest direct and indirect net revenue back into the partnership

Is looking for tremendous brand exposure
Spends significant advertising dollars across multiple product and service lines
Entertains and invests a considerable amount of money on corporate hospitality

Has a CEO who wants to make a statement

Ironically, the CEO may just be the one person in the company who controls the sacred naming-rights budget. So, be prepared to build a business case, not just a marketing solution, that cuts across multiple divisions to justify and prove that a company’s “advertising dollars” can be stretched and repurposed much more effectively with a naming-rights partnership.

Jeff Marks ( this year completed the naming-rights deal for Coliseum in Oakland, home of the MLB Athletics and NFL Raiders. In addition to his role at Premier, he is a professor in the sports management program at the University of San Francisco.