Some Investment Advice: If a Sports Arena Is Named After a Company — Do What the Monty Python Boys Say, “Run Away! Run Away!”

The Barometer noted that the Miami Heat had a fairly large branding error with their home base, i.e., the FTX Arena.  Then the mental recollection wheels began to turn.  Adelphia graced the home of the Tennessee Titans before the founder and several officers of that collapsed company ended up in the hoosegow for using the company as a piggy bank. The Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers have had their home graced by the brands of Wachovia, First Union, and still struggle through now with Wells Fargo, the home of 3.5 million fake accounts.

The poor Houston Astros had Enron Field. Enron executives went on to 9 months to 24 years in prison after that company’s overnight collapse. Perhaps there was a contagion because MLB concluded the Astros cheated, but let them keep their World Series title.  No harm, no foul.

The Nets has its arena in Brooklyn branded with Barclays.  The bank’s CEO’s connections with Jeffrey Epstein have been dogging the bank and CEO for several years.  MCI, nee WorldCom, graced the Washington Wizards’ and Capitals’ arena before WorldCom became the largest bankruptcy in history in 2002.

The Los Angeles Kings and Sparks had their facility named the HealthSouth Training Center until that $3 billion accounting fraud was uncovered. It is now the Toyota Training Center. HealthSouth spread its branding wealth around because, after all, it was specializing in sports injury and surgery rehabilitation — The San Antonio Spurs also had a HealthSouth Training Center.

There are ones to watch.  Comerica’s stock is down 38% and that means trouble might lie ahead for the Detroit Tigers. the Texas Legends, and Dallas Stars. In fact, those regional banks are big arena names around the country.  Watch for those names to fade. and the LA Clippers may not be a good brand affiliation post-FTX.

Sports writers call it the arena curse. The Barometer sees it as bad judgment.  How many Tigers fans switch to Comerica because they saw it at a baseball game?  And how many Nets fans take their banking dollars over to Barclays because they were intrigued at a basketball game?  These are expensive marketing ploys akin to vanity license plates.  Lots of people seem them, but to what end? The car owner feels good but the rest of us just shrug our shoulders and do just as well  keeping  the extra money as we accept, for no extra charge,  the state-issued plates. Save your marketing dollars.  For the teams — save your reputations.  For investors, if you see a sports field, facility, or arena named for a company, do not invest.  Run away.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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