Even I don't have a particular problem with The Grey Cup game, sponsored by Rona.
Now consider that is actually nothing new and then we can move forward.
But selling the naming rights to a game, a trophy, a stadium are not at all what is done in the link CRF provides.
Now, if we could completely eliminate all sponsorship and just play football, I would be so much happier.
Sponsors do not make the game better in any concrete manner.
In fact they distract from the game.
But I accept the reality and move on.
Still, selling the naming rights to the Grey Cup takes us beyond what is being done, and is not only unnecessary, but may actually negatively impact the league and the game.
First, companies spend billions of dollars annually trying to build brand recognition.
The CFL has one of the most identifiable brands in Canada as things stand right now. The Grey Cup!
But just to make a few bucks in the short term, they are willing to dilute that brand, and weaken it.
Frankly, direct association with a corporate sponsor cheapens the name, but it also weakens that all important name recognition.
If, and it is a big if, you could guarantee that once a sponsor is on board, it would never change, it might be practical.
But that cannot be guaranteed.
Rona sponsors it for 10 years.
Great. After 10 years, Ford takes over.
Or Rona is bought out by Home Depot and the sponsor name changes in 3 years.
Another negative is that having one big sponsor can actually drive away smaller ones.
If Canadian Tire is your sponsor, Rona may decide to completely pull out of any deals.
Total sponsorships can actually decline.
Plus, fans, even the ones who say, "go ahead" tend to feel less loyalty to a team, or a league that is percieved as just another corporate shill. If you need to hold your nose to support something, I say take a deep breath and listen to the nose....
Tradition is extremely important in the survival and growth of a team, a league a sport, and anytime you screw with those traditions, you do so at your peril.
Anyway, in case you think I am just blowing off steam (which I am), here are a few examples from selling the naming rights to stadia.
First, I am a Senator fan.
The team has been in existance for about 14 years.
The stadium they play in has changed its names 3 times in that time period, and I would have to google the stadium right now to tell you what it is currently called.
One of the Texas teams(baseball, I think) signed a deal to name their new home Enron Stadium. Sweet deal that one...there has been more than one corporation to either go belly up, or at least end up in financial difficulty after making a "naming" deal.
Many/most stadiums have had more than one name change, generally in less than 10 years.
On a bit of a digression, no stadium except Taylor Field, that has ever been named after a founder, or community leader, has ever had its name changed (that I am aware of). Certainly it would be the oldest--only Ivorre Wynn, Yankee Stadium and Wrigley are as old or older.Most names are added to new stadiums.
In San Fran, they had two name changes in about 5 years.
The feedback was so negative from fans, media, and corporations, that the sponsor bailed out, and it was very difficult to sell the name the second time, reverting to a version of Candlestick).
Now when the Monster contract expires, the name will, by a public referendum, revert to Candlestick.
In Cleveland, the new Stadium was prevented by by-law from selling the name.
The Red Sox could likely sell the name for a new stadium for a staggering $200 million, but have publically stated the name is not for sale (we'll see).
Anyway, I could ramble on for awhile yet, but instead, I'll sum up.
I see no reason, no advantage to selling the naming rights to the Grey Cup.
Short term gain, for long term pain, has always been a problem with the CFL.
I had hoped they had moved beyond that, but this may prove that some things never change...and usually the wrong things....