Sky’s the Limit as Baseball Gets Creative

You’d better sit down for this one. It’s amazing how creative juices flow when times get tough! It’s just sad that it takes tough times to initiate the flow. The following information should encourage you to pursue any and all creative ideas you may have been pondering but kept to yourself thinking they may have been a bit eccentric.

NOTHING is too far fetched today!

Lansing is Michigan’s capital city. Decades ago, the city’s downtown business area was a thriving metropolis. Then, like so many other downtown areas, it soon resembled a ghost town … no theaters, few restaurants and hotels, very little entertainment, and very little major retail. In short, no reason to go downtown.

Then, 15 years ago, they brought a minor league baseball team to town, building one of the largest state-of-the-art Class A Minor League baseball parks in the United States … currently seating 11,000 eager fans. If you could see that ball park today, you’d swear it was built last month. They’ve done a wonderful job of maintaining and enhancing that facility every year.

Even more exciting is that you can buy a ticket to a ball game for less than it costs to park your car for a Detroit Tiger baseball game. General Admission is only $8 per person. Then the prices skyrocket to $9 for a reserved seat and $10 for a box seat! This is affordable family entertainment and the caliber of play is unequaled. This beautiful structure also offers 20 luxury suites.

Due to the fact that the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors, then located in Lansing, purchased the initial naming rights for the stadium, they called it “Oldsmobile Park” and named the team “The Lansing Lugnuts.”

The team was a Class-A Midwest League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, later switching to the Chicago Cubs and currently the Toronto Blue Jays.

This is where the story gets both interesting and very creative. Oldsmobile is no longer a GM brand and, last July, the automaker broke the contract with the Lugnuts during its bankruptcy reorganization. The Lugnuts began an immediate search for someone interested in purchasing the coveted naming rights.

It certainly didn’t take long. The Thomas M.Cooley Law School, the largest law school in the United States and also located in Lansing, paid a whopping $1.5 million to rename the facility the “Cooley Law School Stadium.” THAT’s generating additional income. But wait … the Lugnut owners certainly don’t stop there.

This week they announced that they have also sold naming rights to the actual baseball field inside the stadium! Jackson National Life Insurance Company, an indirect subsidiary of Prudential plc (a company incorporated with its principal place of business in the United Kingdom) has purchased the naming rights of the field for the next 11 years! The price was not disclosed. Jackson National Life Insurance Company is an industry leader offering life insurance and institutional products in 49 states and the District of Columbia. They have agreed to donate $100 to one of a variety of Lugnut charities every time the home team hits a home run throughout the entire season!

How long will it be before they sell the naming rights to first base, second base, third base, home plate, the pitchers mound, the dugout, each individual baseball bat and each of the 11,000 seats within Jackson Field situated inside the “Cooley Law School Stadium”? WHEW!

This isn’t exactly a new concept. I wrote a blog article earlier in the year identifying 26 various football bowl games that have now sold their naming rights. While I certainly understand the logic behind such a move, preparing to attend the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl just isn’t the same as going to the Rose Bowl game!

However, seeing an annual increase in this sort of creative advertising certainly encourages one to pursue just about any unique concept which may come to mind. Go for it!

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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