As banking-sector outrage continues to grow, more attention is being given to sports sponsorships. AIG, for instance, sponsors Manchester United, and Citi will pony up roughly $400 million to have the Mets’ new ballpark named after it. There are, of course, many more examples. I wonder how effective these sorts of “ad impressions” really are, but the marketing departments seem to believe in them.
I’m not angry about this. Advertising–and that’s what sponsorships are–is part of running a business. Mandating that bailout recipients cut executive pay is fair (if, in relative dollar terms, insignificant populism), but we don’t want these businesses to cease functioning as, well, businesses. Which brings us to this nugget from James Warren’s post on this very topic:
A distinctly different view comes from David Israel who, like Minow, is a liberal Democrat. He’s a former star sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune who headed west to become a Hollywood writer-producer and knows the business of sports cold; all the more so as vice chairman of the California Horse Racing Board and a former president of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission.
The sports business is inextricably tied to three major industries: financial services, cars and beer. “And if the government intrudes and refuses to allow companies that took government loans or bailouts to continue marketing affiliations, the business of sports will completely crater,” Israel says.
“This isn’t about anything like the AIG bonuses,” says Israel. “This isn’t throwing bonuses at boneheads who insist on being paid extra millions for blowing untold billions. This is about legitimate marketing, promotion and advertising, the fuel that creates jobs and helps restart and keep running the economic engine.”