What's in a name?

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The 1990s was a boom decade for naming rights deals. "Particularly in the mid- to late '90s there was a bandwagon effect," says Dennis Howard, a professor at the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center of the University of Oregon. "In '95 the average deal was worth $1.28 million" annually, he says. By 2001 "I thought things are starting to shake out. But if you look at what's happened over the last half of 2002-all of a sudden we're seeing a trend back up again. The Lincoln Financial Group deal with the Philadelphia Eagles is a classic. That's kind of resetting the bar," says Mr. Howard, who along with Warsaw Center Managing Director Paul Swangard developed the grades for this exclusive Advertising Age report.
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