Naming Rights Fail

After going a year without a naming rights deal in place, which forced the county to turn over the job of finding the rights to the Braves, it was announced yesterday that the Gwinnett Braves’ stadium will be known at Coolray Field for the next 16 years. Exact financial details were not released, but even if County officials are to be believed, the deal supposedly nets the County $4.5 million over the life of the deal.

If we just do a simple breakdown of the dollars by year ($4.5 million/16 years) that comes to $281,000 per year. And if we break out out by 17 years—because we need to count the lack of revenue captured in the first year—the County has reached a deal to generate an average of $265,000 per year. How does this stack up with their initial revenue projections?

“This will represent about $4.5 million to the county over the length of the deal,” Gwinnett Convention and Visitor Bureau executive director Preston Williams said. “It falls in pretty closely to the financial model we were working on for the stadium. This is a significant deal and a good one in tough economic times like these.”

Pretty close? The County anticipated $500,000 in annual revenue from a naming rights deal. How can getting half of what you expected get be considered pretty close?

And then government officials once again roll out the canard that the stadium is somehow in the black because a car rental tax is generating revenue for the stadium (not to mention the GCVB kick-in that is funded by revenue from Gwinnett Arena which was funded by a hotel tax).

The county was able to cover the lack of naming rights revenue during the stadium’s first season because of higher than anticipated revenue from a 3 percent tax on rental vehicles that was passed to help pay for construction.

“We’re in good shape,” Bannister said. “Financially, it is working out just fine and I’m excited about the future.”

You see, if you take the revenue from a totally unrelated item and apply it to the stadium, it’s breaking even. Unbelievable. By this rationale, every government project has a balanced budget. It’s so good to see those hard-nosed fiscal conservatives on the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners demonstrating responsible financial management.

One Response “Naming Rights Fail”

  1. Shawn says:

    Thanks for covering this story throughout the year. I am from Gwinnett and have found your analysis on this compelling and helpful. Why won’t the AJC get a quote from you on this???