The Chicago White Sox just came to terms to replace Stadium Naming Rights partner U.S. Cellular with Guaranteed Rate Mortgage. The deal goes into effect November 1st and will span until 2029 with an option for 2030. In doing so, the team has notably taken a lot of heat especially via social media.
Sponsorship Buddy's Take:
1) The social media community has opened up a can with quips about the fit (ie. @IamMIdwayMonster: "Guaranteed Loss Field, 'Guaranteed Empty Stadium Field,' 'Guaranteed Gunfire Park"). The Chicago Bears, who don't face the dichotomy of the Chicago baseball community, even took its shot with this Tweet:
Funny stuff, but the deal actually saves the Illinois Sports Facility Authority (ISFA) and the taxpayers that actually pay the tab over $25 million over the course of the deal. A big chunk of that tab is Soldier Field renovations.
2) Guaranteed Rate is a Chicago company looking to compete with the Quicken Loans' of the world, who notably utilized sports and other channels in Detroit and Cleveland to cultivate positive brand awareness while helping re-invigorate disenfranchised areas. Years previous, Guaranteed Rate was collecting sponsorship proposals to gauge value and formulate a strategy and decided to big with this hometown deal. How many more people have become aware of Guaranteed Rate already as a result of the deal? The answer is a lot.
3) Guaranteed Rate's logo featuring an arrow pointing down has also garnered a lot of flack in association with this deal. Apparently both sides are working to come up with a joint logo. It's up to the team and company to overturn negative perceptions. While it may seem like a "loser" now, with any luck on a campaign, the pendulum will swing and it will grow the Guaranteed Rate brand in a big way.