Thomas Wills is the President and CEO of Bonham/Wills & Associates. By 30, he was heading up one of the bigger players in the sponsorship, valuation, and negotiating world. Today, in part one in our series, "Sponsorship Essentials", he sits down with us and lends us valuable insight into the sponsorship and naming rights industry, (all done in 10 minutes or less).
Over the years, municipal and public facilities such as parks, beaches and sporting facilities have witnessed a decline in government funding which as a result has led to difficulties in conducting maintenance and upkeep.
In order to combat this, properties have historically looked towards donors and more recently, corporate sponsors. This brings up an interesting debate about over-corporatization, with commentators on both sides of the fence making their opinions heard, including prominent personalities like Bill Maher in this video.
Naming rights occupy the highest point on the sponsorship pyramid and typically carry with them a number of major benefits for all parties included. This is why we will continue to see these investments increase across industry categories, sports and entertainment venues, events and properties around the globe.
Though the origin of naming rights may be debated, certainly a watershed moment in their development was the 1972-73 naming rights agreement between Rich Products, a Buffalo food manufacturer, and Erie County which enabled the former to put its name on a new football stadium in Orchard Park, New York, the home of the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills. The agreement called for Rich Foods to pay $1.5 million over 25 years in exchange for signage at the stadium and a commercial association with the franchise.