Brand Sponsorship Change Costs

Today I visited the Sears Tower in Chicago to try out the new Chicago SkyDeck.

Actually, I visited the Willis Tower which was once called the Sears Tower.

A tour guide said the Willis Company bought three floors of the Tower and negotiated naming rights for the tower as part of their purchase.

While touring the observation deck, I also learned the tower will soon be repainted gray to reduce energy consumption and costs.

How would a company go about assigning a value to acquiring sponsorship / naming rights to one of America’s most recognized landmarks?

How could the company for which the tower was named justify allowing their brand sponsorship rights to expire?

These questions aside – today while asking my hotel’s concierge about a tour of the tower, I asked for details about the Sears Tower because I wasn’t able to recall the tower’s new name.

After the concierge answered my tour questions, I then asked for the new name of the tower.

Once he told me Willis Tower, I then asked him how long he thought it would be before the general public would embrace the new towers namesake let alone the locals.

He replied, he thought locals would always refer to the tower as Sears Tower.

The concierge wasn’t able to predict when tourists or the general public would forget the tower’s original name and call it by its new name.

I am not sure how either Willis or Sears justified their brand sponsorship change costs, but I am pretty sure theirs will eventually become a case study for appraising and valuing the costs of changing brand sponsorship.


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