Who Would Pay to Rename Wrigley?

All this talk of renovating Wrigley at the taxpayers’ expense (and let’s face it, no matter how the taxes are collected, bonded, spent, or repaid, it all comes down to people paying taxes through the nose) has stirred up a lot of conversation about other potentially disconcerting ways for the Cubs to bring in revenue. While we fans are still partial to the idea of selling 2011 Cubs World Series Champion memorabilia as an ideal money-making scheme, the likelihood of that is { }.

Cubs think tank members in blogging and mainstream realms agree that the most obvious way for the Cubs to collect some quick cash is to peddle their most attractive commodity: Wrigley Field. More precisely, the naming rights. Wrigley by any other name would still smell like piss, so let’s get over the sentimental attachment to our former overlords, shall we? It wasn’t named Wrigley before that family owned it, so why shouldn’t the name change now that we’re 2 or 3 owners removed from their gum-chewing legacy?

Even if the Cubs do decide to sell the naming rights to their North-Side shrine, they still need to find a buyer. I’ve come up with ten possibilities, and, in a departure from the norm, most of them aren’t even sarcastic options. As far as I know, none of the companies I’m suggesting have naming-rights deals with other arenas, fields, parks, stadia, etc. Some with good reason. Let me know what you think about the prospect of watching the Cubs play in, say, Apple Field.

1. Apple
They’ve got the money. They don’t typically shy away from extra publicity. Maybe it could come with a decent Wi-Fi package for the fans as well.

2. Frontier
Frontier Communications is an ISP/telecom provider typically in smaller suburban and rural communities, and they recently acquired a ton of customers from Verizon service areas. Somehow this resulted in an enormous dip in their stock value. Telecom companies typically like naming-rights deals because brand awareness is huge for them. The publicity of owning the rights to the field soon to be known as formerly-known-as-Wrigley would give them a much-needed competitive edge in the market. It’s a bigger doubt, though, that this smaller player in the telecom game would be able to pay out big bucks.

3. BP
Don’t laugh. Or laugh, whatever. But BP, we know, has the money. They also have a brilliant history sponsoring crosstown cups. What they don’t have is anything to lose. Yes, BP Field would make Cubs fans mad and unhappy. But guess what? They already are. BP and Cubs fans have nowhere to go but up, so I look at this as a low risk, high reward venture.

4. Kraft
I don’t have a real good reason for this one other than that they could use a stadium deal, they have a ton of money, and I think my sons would enjoy Cubs games more if the vendors sold Lunchables.

5. Mars, Inc.
Food/candy giant. Recognizable, well respected name. Unobjectionable products. Oh, and Wrigley is their subsidiary, so they could keep the field named Wrigley and finally pay up on the 30 bagijillion dollars of free advertising they get every year. Or they could sue the Cubs for trademark violation for desecrating their brand by tying their name to a urine-soaked frat house. I prefer the bagijillion dollar option, though.

6. Bank of America
Kiefer Sutherland tells me that Bank of America is a proud partner of the Chicago Cubs. This is only natural. Let’s put that bailout money to work at Wrigley. I mean, at BOA Ballpark. But seriously, the banking industry is another one where name recognition means a ton. This investment would pay off.

7. Comcast
From what I hear, Comcast customers are just as tormented as Cubs fans, so this makes all the sense in the God-forsaken world. It’s another huge, competitive market, and Comcast stands to benefit greatly. Couple that with the 25% stake the Ricketts family has in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and it’s a win-win for everybody.

8. Friends of Meigs Field
Meigs Field got destroyed in a midnight raid by Mayor Daley. I’m sure the group that mourns that loss would take some pleasure in bringing Meigs Field back home to Chicago in the confines of Daley’s least favorite baseball franchise, even if they couldn’t land planes there. But they have no money. So . . . yeah. No.

9. Geico
The gecko. The cavemen. The money with eyes. The dude from Brothers McMullen and She’s the One who’s not Edward Burns. There can be no doubt that Geico isn’t afraid of brand saturation. Why not add the Cubs as just one more spokesman? I see no reason. Making the decision to redub the Friendly Confines Geico Park is so easy, even a Cub could do it.

10. TD Ameritrade
Ever heard of synergy? Of course you have, and your psyched about the opportunity to see it happen for the Cubs. The Ricketts family is no stranger to paying for Cubs business with TD Ameritrade money. Okay, actually, everyone else in the world but the Ricketts is a stranger to that. Synergy. This is unbreakable. This is inevitable.

4 Replies to “Who Would Pay to Rename Wrigley?”

  1. I love them all!! TD is linked with the Boston Garden (or whatever they call it since it's not the original Garden). Although it's called TD Banknorth Garden. sorry (ducks)

    Kraft makes the most sense as they are local and aren't going to go out of business anytime soon.

    Frontier is huge in Iowa I think so think of all of those folks who make their pilgrimages!!

  2. Thanks, Brian. I hadn't even thought of looking up TD's affiliation with anyone else because it just seemed so fitting regardless.

  3. PNC sponsors both the Pirates and a suite in Wrigley Field. Citibank sponsors the Mets and a bunch of random stuff in Wrigley Field. Anything to increase exposure, I guess, even though it looks like a major conflict of interest.

  4. Good point, though I'm not thinking about conflict of interest so much as redundancy. For the level of investment of buying naming rights to Wrigley (if $15 to $20 million is in the ballpark of reality) I don't see someone with an arena named after them doubling up that effort, at least not unless it's impossible to get them confused.

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