Trope Co. Trope of the Week
A form of Product Placement
(and a specific type of Enforced Plug
) seen mainly in sports shows and other competitions, but not exclusive to them, where something of importance will be named after a sponsor. Often, this practice results in some pretty awkward names for things and making the announcers sound like characters in a commercial
The most common thing to get this treatment is highlight footage, where sponsors will sometimes try to work their slogan or a pun into the name, making the name even more awkward. But it's not the only thing. You can see unusual executive-induced naming patterns in anything from trophies to arenas. Sometimes, the event itself will be sporting
the name of a corporation, but in those cases, people usually drop the sponsor's name in casual conversation.
Not to be confused with
the Trope Of The Week
series of videos.
- Many Formula One races ("Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix") and teams ("Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro").
- Although the brand names and liveries are very deeply ingrained into the sport, to such a point that one can barely imagine F1 without some of them (ie. JPS Lotus since the 60's, Marlboro McLarens, Rothmans Williams etc.).
- Broadcasts of Buffalo Sabres hockey games feature the "Carubba Collision," a replay of the game's most highlight-worthy check, named for a local auto body repair chain.
- Philadelphia Flyers hockey broadcasts have no fewer than three named replays: the "Allstate Good Hands Play of the Game", the "Wells Fargo Great Check of the Game" (which was renamed along with the Flyers' home arena when Wachovia became Wells Fargo) and the "Toyota Turning Point".
- And every time the Flyers score a goal, Jim Jackson enthuses "Flyer X scores for a case of Tastykakes!"
- Wait until football season to hear one of the most fun examples of this trope yet, courtesy of a Philly-area auto dealer: "The Matt Blatt Splat of the game!"
- NASCAR's Sprint Cup, formerly known as the Nextel Cup, formerly known as the Winston Cup.
- Larry The Cable Guy has a bit about feminine hygiene products as NASCAR sponsors. It's funnier when he does it than it sounds when summarized like this.
- It was pointed out when Sprint bought out Nextel and changed the names on their sponsorship that there's another type of racing called "sprint cars" that predated Sprint the corporation by decades...
- Most of the NASCAR season is named after sponsors, which lead to such races as the Batman Begins 400.
- Pick a stadium, any American major league sporting venue built in the last decade or two. This has become less grating over time, though, since it's so common.
- However, when mergers and takeovers come into play, it becomes annoying with all the renames. Just ask San Francisco Giants fans.
- Sometimes, it remains grating, like when the Jake became Progressive Field, or when the Broncos moved out of Mile High Stadium and into INVESCO Field at Mile High (yes, it's actually a different stadium). INVESCO then bailed on the stadium, now known as Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
- Mocked when the Mayor of Denver, Wellington Webb, renamed the street where the stadium sits to "Mile High Stadium Blvd." out of spite.
- The Toronto SkyDome became the (ugh) Rogers Centre.
- On the other hand, some advertisers just sound right. Great American Insurance advertises on the Reds' stadium as the Great American Ball Park. God bless America! Likewise, Great Western Savings and Loan was the namesake of the Great Western Forum, where the Los Angeles Lakers used to play.
- Chase Field in Phoenix was formerly Bank One Ballpark, the name change falling in line with JPMorgan Chase's merger with Bank One in 2005. Arguably, "chase" evokes the feel of baseball better, making the stadium's corporate sponsorship not so obvious.
- Not just the stadiums. New Jersey has a soccer team called the New York Red Bulls. Of course, they play at Red Bull Arena.
- Curly Lambeau asked his employer for money, uniforms, and use of a field for a football team he was putting together. His employer, the Indian Packing Company (a meatpacker) agreed on the condition the team be named after the company. Thus, the Green Bay Packers.
- New York's football team, the Buffalo Bills, is said to be flirting with a move to Toronto, and part of the reason is that the owner, Ralph Wilson, named the stadium after himself rather than accept sponsorship money.
- The bowl games in U.S. college football are full of these, such as the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio
- At least those still have the original name, unlike the Peach Bowl.
- As of the 2013 season, there are twelve bowls whose official names consist solely of the name of the corporate sponsor and the word "Bowl".
- The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- And "Thanksgiving" is occasionally omitted.
- At least that Parade has both history and was originally (and still is) run entirely by Macy's employees.
- The 2008 American Gladiators revival had a few Subway replays and the "Toyota winning moment".
- Last Comic Standing had at least one season where the contestant with the most viewer votes would automatically advance to the next round or, in the host's words, get a "Capital One No Hassle Pass".
- Poker tournaments on ESPN break out the "Degree All-In Moment" Once an Episode when someone puts his last chips on the line. The antiperspirant also sponsors the "Degree Check Mark" to show someone has the best possible hand.
- And the "Planters Good Instinct Moment".
- More recently, there has been the "Jack Link's Beef Jerky Wild Card Hand", a Once an Episode hand where one of the player's hands (the "Wild Card hand") is hidden from the viewers, who are left to guess what cards that player is holding. It's a Running Gag that color commentator Norman Chad is poor at guessing these, though he actually does get it right sometimes.
- A new version of this trope is to name the electronic first down line after a sponsor, like the "Overstock.com First Down Line".
- That's bad, but this is worse. Listen to a Westwood One NFL radio broadcast, and you'll have the distinct inclination to shove spikes in your ears every time the announcers mention the "Heinz red zone". (For international readers: The "red zone" in American football is the part of the field between the opponent's 20-yard-line and their end zone- when an offense reaches this point, scoring is imminent. Thus, it's a phrase that comes up about several dozen times in a standard football broadcast. In the U.S., Heinz is best known as a ketchup brand which puts "Heinz Red Zone" displays in many supermarkets during football season.)
- In some college markets with fanbases in heavy farming communities, this gets even worse when they call it the Case IH Red Zone. Case IH is a farm machinery company whose vehicles are mostly red, to compete with John Deere, whose vehicles are mostly green.
- CBS Sports Network has liked bringing out the "Verizon Red Zone" during college football games, complete with overlain graphics on the field.
- Now we have the Barbasol Close Shave.
- Oh yeah, this also happens in the rest of the world!
- All baseball teams in Japan are named after their sponsors or corporate owners, rather than where they play.
- The tournament between the top soccer clubs of Latin America is the Santander Copa Libertadores (Santander is a Spanish bank), previously the Toyota Copa Libertadores.note
- In the world of T20 cricket, the Indian Premier League uses this as its fuel; it's not just a boundary for 6, the commentators will casually call it a "DLF Maximum". After DLF was replaced by Pepsi as the title sponsor in 2013, it has become a "Yes Bank Maximum", though one day a commentator called one a "Pepsi Max" (probably as an Ascended Meme, given that so many people were joking about that possibility before Yes Bank became a sponsor too). But the more infamous (and annoying) examples in the past were the "Citi Moment of Success" and the "Karbonn Kamaal Catch" (Karbonn is a cellphone maker, Kamaal is a word meaning "perfection")
- There are also corporately-owned and sponsored teams too: Royal Challengers Bangalore are owned by an Indian brewery (who produce a whiskey called Royal Challenge), the newly-formed Sunrisers Hyderabad are owned by the media company Sun TV, and the former Deccan Chargers were owned by the Deccan Chronicle newspaper.
- Not only are all of the teams in the Philippine Basketball Association owned by major Filipino companies, but they also have no home markets either! The Alaska Aces are the only team in the entire league with a name that seems relatively normal (or Hilarious in Hindsight if you expect them to be sponsored by Farmer Ahab Blubber Nuggets) in comparison to the others (which contain such gems as the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters), but are named for a milk company which has nothing to do with Alaska.
- The Barclays Premier League, the T-Mobile Ekstraklasa, La Liga BBVA and probably several other European football (soccer) leagues.
- The Cups in England have also been given sponsors' names, The League Cup has been known as, over the years, the Worthington Cup, the Littlewoods Cup, the Carling Cup, and several others. The FA Cup, while it is still the FA Cup, is now "The FA Cup with Budweiser". The trophy competed for by those sides in Leagues 1 and 2 (third and fourth tiers), The Football League Trophy, is currenly the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, and has been known as the LDV Vans Trophy among others.
- Bayer 04 Leverkusen are historically associated with the company, Bayer, and their stadium is the BayArena.
- Pretty much all football teams have a primary sponsor, whose logo goes where the team name would on a basketball jersey. You could be forgiven if you think that Arsenal FC are the "Fly Emirates".
- How's about the NAB Cup played at the AAMI stadium? (For non-Aussies: NAB is the National Australia Bank and AAMI does insurance.) Channel Nine's televisation of Australian cricket even has little quiz questions sponsored by Johnnie Walker.
- Averted, briefly, by the Australian Football League in 2009, who refused to recognize the naming rights to Melbourne's Docklands Stadium after they had been acquired by Etihad Airlines, primarily because the league had rival Qantas as an official sponsor.
- In Brazil, teams of sports other than soccer usually have the sponsor name along with the name of the place/club it represents - and sometimes, just the sponsors: the team now known as Rio/Unilever was for some time Rexona/AdeS.
- Also, in overseas soccer matches, not only do they have the normal advertisements on the walls (albeit in LED format), they have ads painted on the field, angled just right so the camera can catch them.
- WWE's programs feature sponsored "Slam of the Night" ("Smack of the Night" on SmackDown) and "Rewind" segments that occasionally change names depending on who's sponsoring them (for example, the "Snickers Cruncher Crunch of the Night" when said candy bar was introduced).
- The most cringe-worthy one was when the horrible B-movie film Bats was coming out. They had the "Bat-Ass of the Week", which made no sense at all.
- As bad as it might seem, it used to be even worse in the early days of radio and TV. Examples would be shows with the sponsor's name. This trend started to end in the 1960s and the concept of corporate naming declined only to revive in the 1990s. Examples of TV shows:
- Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue
- The Colgate Comedy Hour
- The Philco Television Playhouse
- The Voice of Firestone
- Texaco Star Theater
- Kraft Television Theatre
- Ford Theatre (Not to be confused with Ford's Theatre, where president Lincoln was shot)
- ''The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports"
- Camel News Caravan, the ancestor of the NBC Nightly News (the medium must have been too young to worry about conflict-of-interest)
- Repórter Esso (the first Brazilian news show)
- Hallmark Hall of Fame (current)
- Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (both original and current versions)
- Panasonic Drama Theatre (Japan, current)
- Each episode of The Dana Carvey Show had a different sponsor, and integrated the sponsor into the show's title; for example, the first two episodes were The Taco Bell Dana Carvey Show and The Mug Root Beer Dana Carvey Show. This was done as an homage to the shows mentioned above. This got him into trouble as Taco Bell pulled their sponsorship after 1. Dana Carvey interrupted one of their commercials to mock it and 2. Started off the show with a skit about a lactating Bill Clinton which was seen as "too much for something three minutes after Home Improvement".
- It was mostly due to sponsors threatening to pull their sponsorship that the infamous quiz show scandals happened.
- A recent women's golf tournament was the "Coca-Cola Invitational, sponsored by Safeway." So now we get a double sponsor on the game.
- None of the four men's major golf tournaments have sponsors; four of the five women's majors do. In senior (over-50) men's golf, two of the five majors have title sponsors, and two others have "presenting sponsors" whose names appear after the tournament title.
- This is common in the college game, where a stadium will have one sponsor and the field itself will have another. And if that stadium hosts a bowl game, you could conceivably have the [A] Bowl from [B] Field at [C] Stadium.
- Dementia Smackdown has the Fump bump of the night.
- Play any EA Sports game, count the number of interface and gameplay elements that have "EA", "EA Sports" or "[Title of Game]" tacked on in front of them.
- EA takes this pretty far. In Fight Night Round 3, one fight is the Dodge Caliber championship, which plants a car in the background during the right, and makes a huge deal out of the fact that your character wins one (it has no effect on gameplay at all, naturally.) It's even possible to hire The Burger King as your trainer.
- Ads are so ingrained in sports broadcasts that the thought of not seeing any is now mentally jarring- so all game developers now make sure their pro sports titles are as ad-packed as their real-life counterparts. Yep, it's The Coconut Effect.
- On professional baseball broadcasts (major and minor league), it seems to have become de rigeur for a wireless phone company to sponsor pitching changes, usually punning on the "call to the bullpen" the manager makes to effect the change.
- And every radio broadcast has the fifteenth out of the game (the final out of the top of the third) sponsored by Geico, which reminds you that 15 minutes could save you 15% on your auto insurance.
- And during the pregame show (at least on Yankees broadcasts), there's "It's about 15 minutes to first pitch, and 15 minutes (you know the rest)..."
- This one shows up in football, too, particularly at the start of the 4th quarter: "If you don't think things can change in 15 minutes, call your local Geico agent!"
- Particularly galling is the Canadian junior hockey trophy gaining sponsorship — the MasterCard Memorial Cup. Yes, a trophy named for fallen World War I veterans has been commercialized.
- Along with making it sound like it was named in memory of a fallen sponsor!
- All of the U.S. network sports departments jump all over this. For Fox's BCS coverage, they had the "Built Ford Tough Pregame Show", CBS's NFL coverage has the "Sprint Halftime Show" (before 2005 it was the "Nextel Halftime Show"), the "Geico Moment of the Game", their NCAA basketball coverage has "AT&T at the Half" (before mid-2007 it was "Cingular at the Half"), NBC had the "Discover Card Intermission Report" for hockey, the list goes on.
- Brazilian radio broadcast of soccer tends to do that a lot. In fact, some of them have become catchphrases that people recognize easily, like Mercurio Transportes, the best time (when announcing the time of the game, also playing with the fact that the sponsor is a transporting company).
- ...it's gotten so bad that an early MADtv sketch featuring a football broadcast with product placements literally everywhere has become Hilarious in Hindsight...
- Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! parodied this mercilessly in the "Jim & Derrick" episode, a parody of the likes of MTV and extreme sports which featured the VistaFresh Mobile Viral Clip of the Week and numerous other segments sponsored by Turbo Fuel Maximum Energy Soda. Well, except for the Turbo Fuel promotion sponsored by Tordo's Xtreeme Flavor Dust.
- On The Colbert Report during Colbert's campaign, he would frequently refer to it as "The Stephen Colbert, Hail to the Cheese, Nacho Cheese Doritos 2008 Presidential Campaign"
- Changed because he might get sued over "illegal campaign contributions" to "The Stephen Colbert, Hail to the Cheese, Nacho Cheese Doritos 2008 Presidential Campaign Coverage"
- And now, for the 110% Juice Player of the Game!
- Many major stakes races in American Thoroughbred Racing have name sponsors, such as [shudder] The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands and The Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge. It could have been worse, though ... had Yum! wanted to name it after one of their specific brands, we might have had the Kentucky Fried Chicken Derby.
- The Indy Racing League picked up ApexBrasil as their fuel supplier in 2009. Seems cheesy at first when you hear the phrase "ApexBrasil Green Flag" at the start of the race, but then you realize Apex is an ethanol supplier (a "green" alternative to gasoline and diesel) and the Fridge Brilliance hits.
- The Hershey PA hockey team was originally called the "Hershey Bars"; but since advertising in team names was frowned upon, they were renamed and stayed the "Hershey Bears"
- When CBS airs golf, Peter Kostis will invariably analyze a player's swing with the "Konica Minolta...Bizhub...Swing Vision Camera". Yes, the emphasis does make it as awkward sounding as forced.
- Apart from the names of the leagues themselves, this is relatively rare in British football, with the notable exception of the former Total Network Solutions F.C. (which was the popular target of jokes on Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday from Jeff Stelling). To be fair, though, they represent the towns of Oswestry and Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain - not the most catchy names for a club (they now play as The New Saints F.C., officially The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid).
- Some teams, such as Airbus UK Broughton F.C., Billingham Synthonia F.C., Metropolitan Police F.C. and Vauxhall Motors F.C., appear to be examples of this trope, but instead get their names from the fact they are (or were) works teams - teams made of employees of their respective companies.
- Although some sides do have stadiums named after sponsors, this usually only occurs after the club build a new stadium and then rent the name out. Examples are the Emirates (Arsenal), the Reebok (Bolton) and the Walkers (Leicester City).
- Good old fashioned fan power recently averted this in Newcastle. The new owners of Newcastle Town proposed changing the name of the stadium to trhat of their own commercial enterprise. Fans resented this so much and organised such an effective campaign against that the idea was dropped, and the century-old St James' Park still remains so called.
- The Glazer Brothers were so used to owning and managing American sporting sides - with all that implies, as described on this page - that they thought they could treat Manchester United in a similar way. They were genuinely taken aback by the force and violence of the reaction they received to what they thought from experience at home were routine business management practices, that they had to take a crash-course in the history and traditions of British football. to their credit, they realised they were dealing with different attitudes in a different country and abandoned their more controversial (by British standards) proposals for their new buy.
- All the Spanish basketball teams fall into this, to the point most great teams are remembered by the sponsor. The only team to avoid this is the incredibly wealthy Real Madrid. Even their also incredibly wealthy sworn rivals, Barcelona, have their own sponsor.
- Deadliest Catch doesn't show the crab count before every commercial. They show the Coors Light Crab Count.
- Wipeout Canada doesn't have a sweeper round. It has a Motrin Sweeper Round.
- Many shows are no longer just "presented by *sponsor*", they're "driven by Chevrolet," "built by the Home Depot," etc.
- GSN originals since 2007 or so are known for sponsoring anything associated with the game show.
- Catch 21 's first season was sponsored by Kraft Real Mayo. From time to time, the power chips in the end game were renamed "Burger King Power Chips".
- The final season of Woolery Lingo had the bonus round sponsored by Kellogg's Raisin Bran Crunch. The Engvall Lingo not only had mystery balls sponsored by Progressive insurance, but they also gave contestants a bonus letter in the first word of the bonus round.
- The Newlywed Game obviously has the most of these. The first season's bonus question was sponsored by eHarmony.com. There have been questions sponsored such companies as Miracle Whip, Ashley Furniture Homestores, and Macy's. Not to mention a week sponsored by Cost Plus World Market, shows where winners also got a Toshiba camcorder, and dare I say, the obviously rigged Reeds In The Lead Round?