Reports surfaced this week that Jerry Jones is having trouble selling the naming rights to the alternate universe/football field being constructed in Arlington. It was speculated that Jones was seeking a long-term sponsorship deal in the range of $20 – $25 MM per year, similar to the deal the New York Mets reached with Citigroup (20 years, $20MM/year; $400 MM total).
Such a sponsorship deal in the current economic landscape would be very difficult to swing. Several industry sectors that have been major players for naming rights in the past would seem to be non-factors in this current environment.
Financial companies, such as Citigroup, are already stretched to the max. Those that take bailout money may be forced to cap executive pay, so it is pretty much guaranteed that this industry will stay clear.
Retail and service sectors are arguably hit hardest after financial companies. They are heavily reliant on consumer spending, and consumers are not spending right now. Big Dallas firms such as Brinker, JC Penney, and Neiman Marcus (not that Cowboys fans would be their top demographic priority) are in survival mode, not spending mode.
Ironically, the one sector that is flush with cash is Jones’ former forte – oil and gas. However; even though the money is there, what is the incentive for an Exxon Field? Generally companies in this industry tend to avoid such deals, because the exposure doesn’t directly impact the bottom line. In effect, this type of agreement could be looked upon as another Big Oil excess, something most executives are eager to avoid.
How desperate is Jones for this money? Would he be willing to think outside the box and strike a deal with an unconventional partner? What about Viagra Field? Or Cash for Gold Stadium?
Perhaps in the end Jerry will take the highroad and next season the Cowboys will play at Cowboys Stadium; at least until the economy recovers and the highest bidder wins out.