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Overstock Paid JUST $7 Million For Oakland Coliseum Naming Rights

The Oakland Coliseum is continuing a tradition of bad naming rights deals that goes all the way back to when it was called Network Associates Coliseum for just $6 million in 1998.

This time, over a decade later, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum authority approved a deal for Overstock.com to place its name on the stadium where the Oakland Raiders and Oakland Athletics play for just $7 million for six years.

Let's see, just a million bucks more over that time?

Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne said, "Overstock.com is thrilled to become a part of Oakland and Alameda County, and to be associated with the Raiders and the A’s—two globally-recognized championship teams"

What Byrne should have said is "I'm so happy to deal with an organization that routinely gives so much globally-recognized value away for so little money." Overstock gets to put its name on stadium signage, internet, television, radio and print promotion, and all for just $7 million.

This penchant for bad deals is something this blogger has railed about for years, and one reason why I've asked Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby to look at what's going on with the Oakland Coliseum. This is terrible. And before I continue on my angry rant, I'll show you why.

While the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority was giving away the store, again, Farmers Insurance signed a 30-year, $700 million naming rights deal for a football stadium in Los Angeles that hasn't been built, in a media market that hasn't seen football in 15 years!

And The University of Louisville even tops the Oakland Coliseum with a 10-year 13.5 million deal with Yum Brands, that was done in 2010.   

Yeah.  For The University of Louisville! 

That news, right there, should be enough to make any Oaklander's blood boil. But folks, this crap has been going on for years. Oakland City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente, who should not be surprised that this blogger's raising hell about this, should be flogged for even speaking highly of this deal, let alone approving it. Ignacio should have said "You know, I'm not going to sign off on this deal, because Zennie's going to be on my butt - again - if I do."

Damn right.

What the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority should have done is execute the plan I laid out when I worked to try and bring the 2005 Super Bowl to Oakland: name both the stadium and the field, which includes the parking lot. The Oracle Arena, (which was the focus of a price that was not named, but we can guess it was somewhere in the area of what Overstock.com paid) would not be hampered by the plan.

But the idea is to offer the true stadium complex and its overall value. When I crafted that plan, and the argument for it, I asserted that if we landed a Super Bowl, we could afford an "ask" of $200 million, and Sports Business Journal at that time, estimated that the value of a stadium naming rights deal for the SF Bay Area could be as much as $80 million.

That's right: $80 million.

The problem is that Oakland thinks small of itself, and therefore is just happy for what it gets.  And this goes for the Oakland Raiders, who get part of the $1.2 million annual payment.  How else to explain the continuation of such crappy stadium naming rights deals in Oakland?   Plus, what really bothers me, is the Coliseum people only seek local businesses to name the Coliseum, which gets "global" exposure.

Overstock is well aware they got off with a bargain, else Byrne would not have mentioned that the facility, because of the teams, was "globally recognized." 

This is an outrage, and I'm not done outraging about it!

Let's see now. Oakland's crying about a deficit, and asking people to share the pain, and we can't even get our stadium act together. And to think that I wanted to run the Oakland Coliseum way back in 1998, and guess who rejected then-Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris' recommendation?

Ignacio De La Fuente.

If I were running the Coliseum, this would not have happened.  Heads would roll.  

I like drinking with Ignacio, but I've got to hammer him on this one. It's not personal. It's only business.  This crap has to stop. 
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