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More on Phoenix Stadium Names

A couple of posts ago, I noted how comical it was that the on-line only University of Phoenix bought the naming rights to the Phoenix football stadium - i.e. the University of Phoenix Stadium. Unfortunately, that's not where the naming follies stop in Phoenix. No, right next door to the stadium is the hockey arena - excuse me, the Jobing.com Arena, named (obviously) after the jobs site Jobing.com.

Now, prior to this trip to Phoenix I had never heard of Jobing.com. Craigslist? Yes. Monster? Of course. Careebuilder? Obviously. Yahoo Hot Jobs? Check. I've even heard of smaller sites like jobfox (they have a billboard on the 101). But never Jobing.com - and yet here they had naming rights for a prominent arena. In fact it was just last October that they shelled out the $30 million for the these rights.

OK, so was it money well spent? Am I just out of touch? Are they an uber-successful site that I just never heard of? Unfortunately for them, doesn't seem so. According to Alexa, their traffic rank is 4,787, well behind the competition. In fact, Alexa seems to show that their traffic is actually down since they spent all that money on naming rights.

Well, Alexa is notoriously unreliable anyway, right? The company must be doing well in Phoenix where the naming is heard/ seen most? They must have lots of job listings there? Actually, no. According to the site, they have about 1700 total listings in Phoenix. Pretty impressive until you count that Craig had over 1100 listings added to his site just today.

$30 million for those naming rights. Ugh.

What would I have done with that money instead? Well, come up with a better name for starters. There is a word "jobbing"but as you can see that has two b's. When i first saw the sign on the arena, I really wasn't sure whether it was pronounced jobbing or jo-bing. That's not good.

In my mind things like naming rights are great for brand maintenance or brand enhancement, but terrible for brand building. Quick way to test whether your web-site should buy naming rights: if you're tempted to include the .com part of your URL in the new name of the stadium, you're not ready. Everyone knows that there is only one domain that counts: .com. Successful brands (Yahoo, Google, ebay, etc.) online don't include the .com in their marketing because everyone knows where to find them.

If your inclination is to include the .com in the name, it means you don't have an established web brand and you're looking at the naming rights as a traffic buy. Naming rights are a really bad, expensive way to buy traffic. Instead, spend the $30 million somewhere else where you can actually get some real traffic for your money. If you do that and lots of other things really, really well and you eventually succeed in building a brand then, at that point, go ahead and name a stadium after your company. You've earned it.

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Comments (2)

Dave:

Having handled a few naming rights deals for professional sports stadiums and arenas, I can assure you that Jobing.com did not pay $30 million up front. My guess is that this is a long term agreement (say, 15-20 years), with annual installments that escalate over time (assuming the city/county that owns the facility had a good lawyer) for a total of $30 million. Jobing.com was probably out of pocket - at most - $500,000 to $1 million at the time of execution (assuming they had a good lawyer). I think the point of your post should probably be the complete lack of due diligence conducted by the Phoenix officials who took Jobing.com on as their naming rights partner. Just reading what you have posted would have been enough for me to tell them to look elsewhere. There is nothing worse for a facility than to have its name changed due to the bankruptcy or similar event of its naming rights partner.

Case in point, where do the Houston Astros play now? How about the Tennessee Titans? We all know that they used to play at Enron Field and Adelphia Stadium, respectively, but what about now. The bang for the naming rights buck is in the inital roll out and the staying power of the sponsor so that the location and the name become synonymous. M

ark my words, Phoenix (or whoever owns the arena) will be shelling out significant funds in the future to change over arena signs, higway signs, wayfinding signage around the arena, etc. once Jobing.com goes in the tank.

I've got a bit of a personal relationship established with Jobing...they are my main sponsor for a cross country tour entitled Pursue the Passion.

I thought I'd point out one thing in this article. I believe that the 1700 job listings you mentioned are actually just the different area codes of Phoenix added up. (602) (623) (480)= 1705.

It did make me laugh at the pronunciation though...Jobing or jo-bing. I got that a lot as I traveled across the country with their logo on the side of my RV.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 1, 2007 8:40 PM.

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