this two minute warning made possible with a grant from....
The Chicago Bears have sold out.
No longer will the old franchise, which was there at the NFL's creation, refer to itself exclusively as the Chicago Bears. From now on, whenever possible, it will be "Bears football presented by Bank One."
The bank, which is based in Chicago, paid an undisclosed amount to be the team's "presenting partner" for the next 12 years, the first such arrangement in NFL history.
I remember back in the early 80's, we had this running joke where we imagined that everything in sports was sponsored. This home run brought to you by Budweiser! This seventh inning stretch brought to you by Master Card! The joke was on us when advertising proliferated sports to the extent that tv time outs became part of the game and the sideboards in hockey looked more like billboards.
Then came the inevitable naming of stadiums. Gone were the homey sounding names and arenas dedicated to local heroes. Invesco Field, FedEx Field, Network Associates Coliseum, Qualcomm Stadium. Enron Stadium, anyone?
Now, - unless some player decides to chang his name to Cellular One - they are taking it as far as it can go.
By the Bears selling out like this, they have opened a Pandora's Box of naming rights and sponsorships.
The New York Mets presented by Pepto-Bismol. The Dallas Cowboys presented by Chico's Bail Bonds.
There's a good opportunity here for some inventive marketing. Sadly, it just makes it all too apparent that professional sports is nothing more than a collective of badly run businesses.