Seven Golden Rules Of Naming Rights Sponsorship For Brands

This post was originally published on Mundo do Marketing in portuguese and was adapted from our partner Tim Crow´s article “Why There Are Now Six Golden Rules Of Naming Rights Sponsorship For Brands“.

Very recently some Brazilian football clubs announced that their arena´s naming rights were on sale. In Brazil this kind of sponsorship is very common in movie theatres and music venues, but it´s taking the first steps in the sports world.

Atlético Paranaense was a pioneer in 2005, when they sold their arena´s name to Kyocera. But, three years later, the contract was not renewed and, since then, the club wasn’t able to sell this property to any other sponsor. So, what´s the reason why brands in Brazil do not seem to be interested in sports arenas’ naming rights?

Some time ago our friend Tim Crow, Synergy Sponsorship´s CEO, wrote a nice post with his 6 golden rules of naming rights. The post was focused in the European market, and we “tropicalized” these rules, adapting to the Brazilian reality. That´s why we have seven rules instead of six.

1. The stadium should have a short name only. If it has two names, one of them being the sponsor brand, guess which the media and fans will cut. Good examples are The Reebok Stadium, Bolton Wanderes´ home, and The Emirates, Arsenal´s home. These two work well. On the other side you will find Jame´s Park, Newcastle´s home. What’s the chance of somebody pronouncing the entire name?

2. It´s clever to avoid renaming a traditional stadium. If you do the media and fans will probably cut your name. In other words, it´s a lot easier to start with a new stadium. This rule explains the reason why Brazilian brands appear to avoid naming some local stadiums. On the other side, it is a good opportunity for the new stadiums being built for the World Cup 2014.

3. The exception to rule 2 is when a stadium doesn´t have appeal with the fans or is declining for some reason and, as a result, needs to be re-launched. In England, the Millennium Dome, an exhibition venue that never conquered consumers’ hearts, was recently re-launched as “The O2″. In the same way, Corinthians, the Brazilian football club, could upgrade its traditional “Fazendinha” (Tiny Farm), and a new name could do well.

4. The sponsor should pay enough for the naming right, and the main problem of not doing so is that the media and the fans can interpret this as bad faith. In England there was a case when the sponsor paid only £ 150,000 per year to guarantee naming an arena, a very small amount of money in comparison to the expensive TV campaigns produced by the company. Fans didn´t like it. In Brazil, the average fan wouldn’t probably acknowledge such a detail, but they are starting to be picky with which brands they want to see associated with their club.

5. The brand should bet on long term due to two reasons: it demonstrates a commitment to the club and the ROI will be a lot bigger. Besides that, the media and the fans need some time to get used to the new name.

6. It´s not clever to rename a stadium that already has a nickname. Ideally, the nickname should be part of the naming strategy. Recently, Corinthians announced its new stadium for the 2014 World Cup, at it was automatically named “Itaquerão” (from the neighborhood where it is located). The nickname has been adopted by media and fans, even before the stadium is ready, and the club is having a hard time finding a naming partner.

7. After following rules 1 to 6, then the hard work really begins – earning respect and admiration from the fans and media, what is only possible with activation and creativity.