News broke Monday that Syracuse is reportedly shaking down the Carrier Corporation for more money if they want to keep their name on the future version of the Carrier Dome. As we all know, the naming rights deal signed when the stadium first opened is a pretty terrible one and the upcoming renovations appear to have created an opportunity for SU to loophole their way into more money or a new sponsor
According to one expert, Syracuse could get something in the range of $2 million a year from an updated naming right deal (the whole Carrier deal was a one-time $2.75 million payment, so you see why this is important).
Now we can have a lot of fun wondering about wacky naming sponsors (Jreck Subs Stadium, Dinosaur BBQoliseum, Hofmann Stadium a.k.a. The Hof). But let’s actually try to figure this out the much less sexy, much more factual way.
We’ll assume a couple things. Number one, Carrier’s not going to suddenly pony up that kind of money. Number two, the new sponsor will be a company with deep pockets who is also a big player in Central New York.
So, setting aside the cute choices and personal preferences, let’s try to work out who we think would be the legitimate choice to be the new naming rights sponsor for Syracuse’s stadium.
There can only be one choice: Wegmans. Aside from being among the largest employers in Onondaga County and CNY, it also is a brand that is a source of major pride in the region. Show me someone who doesn't like Wegmans, and I'll show you someone who has never been to a Wegmans. That it would be a fun poke in the eye to perennial ACC partner Food Lion is just icing on our half moon cookie (4-pack $2.49, on sale). See you at the Weggy Dome!
I think the only company that could be a realistic and long-term option is Wegmans. It seems to check all the boxes for a corporate sponsor and while we don't know what the renovations will end up being, if that partnership were to happen, I think Syracuse would end up as the home of The Wegmans Dome.
Pyramid Management Group, PMG Arena a.k.a. "The Pyramid"
PMG is one of the best management groups in the state. Their main client in CNY is Destiny USA. They have been the driving force to what the mall is today. Not only would they buy the naming rights, but I think they could also help with a lot of interior work that would maximize space for entertainment to give fans a great game experience.
So with this question, I did what any semi-sane married person would do and asked my significant other, mostly for a joke response. My wife immediately came back with the "Dino-Dome" as there's few things more Syracuse than Dinosaur BBQ. She said it as a joke, but it may possibly have the legs to work. Dinosaur BBQ is owned by John Stage, but a large stake is Soros Strategic Partners and they definitely have the corporate legs to fund a naming rights deal. That said, "Welcome to the Dinosaur Barbecue Dome" or "Dinosaur Barbecue Stadium at the Carrier Dome" would be a bit of a crazy mouthful. I would love to see one of the local businesses like Ephesus Lighting opt for the Ephesus Arena or something along those lines that also promotes the economy of the region.
The first thing I did was take a look at Cuse.com to see who the major sponsors are. While we appreciate the support of these restaurants, I just can’t see any of them committing millions of dollars annually to a stadium naming rights deal. Aspen Dental is a national brand but they sponsor the Dino Babers Show, so clearly they’re interested in being involved. KeyBank certainly sponsors a lot of stuff with SU and they were my initial pick but they just closed a bunch of branches so the timing might not be right.
So I stepped back and thought about what company might appreciate the name recognition that comes with being associated with Syracuse Athletics and I keep coming back to Wegmans. It makes a lot of sense regionally but it also makes a lot of sense in terms of how they can leverage the ACC footprint. Wegmans has been expanding into places like North Carolina and Virginia as it moves down the Mid-Atlantic and into the Southeast. Many folks think it’s only a matter of time before they expand to Georgia and Florida. That’s all prime ACC country full of potential customers.
They’re not ACC Corporate Champions, like that dirty Food Lion, so what better way to leverage Syracuse football and basketball than to constantly have ACC telecasts mentioning The Wegmans Dome every gameday? Whatever they might have spent on becoming a cushy ACC sponsor would serve them just as well here. Not to mention the value they get as the name on the stadium in the middle of their customer homebase. Think of how excited Jim Boeheim will be?
Duke fan waved a WEGMANS IS OVERRATED sign last year. Never! I'll be signing BLEEDING ORANGE at our beloved Wegman's in DeWitt tonight at 7.— Jim Boeheim (@therealboeheim) November 18, 2014