We live in a sports universe featuring such events as the BBVA Compass Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and College GameDay Built by the Home Depot. But in a plan laid forth jointly by various league officials, including MLB commissioner Budweiser Selig, NFL commissioner Roger Goodyear and NBA Commissioner David Howard Stern Show, we will begin to see even more sponsorships in sports.
According to Mr. Howard Stern Show, NBA players will now be called for "Travelocity," "Double Whopper Dribble" and "HP Technical Support Fouls." Also, each Shaquille O’Neal foul shot will be sponsored by the Boston Construction Company—"You need bricks, we’ve got them." And Yao Ming will change his name to "Yao! That Hurt! But Houston Medical Center Will Treat My Injuries Properly."
Meanwhile, Budweiser Selig issued a statement saying managers and players should refer to the umpires as “JetBlue.” Furthermore, Selig stated, we will begin to see a variety of team name changes, including the Minnesota Twinkies, the Washington Nationwide and the Pittsburgh Commission to End Internet Piracy.
Baseball was not alone in their team name sponsorships. The Vatican is reportedly looking to purchase the naming rights for the Arizona Cardinals. Also, the New York Jets will now be known as the New York Boeing 747s.
But it is not just the on-the-field action that will be sold. Time is a valuable commodity and will be treated accordingly. Reportedly convenience store 7-Eleven has agreed to sponsor the time for all NBA games, which now are required to start at 7:11 PM local time.
Meanwhile, NHL Commissioner Gary BETman (whose sponsorship is an attempt to attract more African-Americans to the sport) states that all hockey games will start at 15 minutes past the hour, because “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.” At the top of the hour, viewers will be encouraged to call Geico, so they can switch their insurance and not miss any of the game.
College sports are not immune either. The University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball team has unveiled a piece of exercise equipment known as the Kemba Walker. Every time the eponymous guard scores a basket, an advertisement will be read encouraging people to buy the machine. Furthermore, this will be the only piece of equipment available at the athletic gym on campus, in an effort to encourage exclusivity.
Some final sponsorship includes the University Florida Football team being sponsored by the Florida Correctional Institute. But it’s not just big schools that are being sponsored. Tiny Patriot League school American University in Washington DC, already known as the American Eagles, will now be sponsored by the clothing chain. This is a stark change from just a few years ago when the school did not even give out athletic scholarships.
But there’s one thing everyone agrees on. This commercialism is for the good of the game. Sports, like everything else, are losing money, and need a boost so more fans will come to the games. But is it a sort of athletic bailout? No. At least that’s what Dick Cheney and the newly-named New England PATRIOT Acts want you to think.