If you hadn't heard, it takes money to keep up with the big boys. The most obvious entity to earn the BYU athletic department money is LaVell Edwards Stadium, which to my knowledge has never earned the school a dime in naming rights.
I know, I know. You hated this article as soon as you read the headline. How could we ever turn from Saint LaVell? Utah State went away from Dick Romney recently, putting pen to paper to name its football stadium after a Utah-based gas station/convenience store chain. (They really missed on the name though. It should be Bahama Mama Stadium.)
There's no shame in this, friends. We're officially north of 50 years without adding money to department funds through a corporate naming sponsorship of the football stadium. It's not even as if it was named after a generous benefactor such as is the case with the Marriott Center. We called it Cougar Stadium for 36 years, for crying out loud.
LaVell's name will have been on the stadium for 15 of those 50+ years come November. Look, LaVell is a sensible man, perhaps the most practical human you could meet. He wouldn't begrudge the school a chance to add to the recruiting budget. I'm sure he'd trade his name on the building if it could help BYU return to the top 10. We can name the field after him, build a shrine to him in the concourse, and get some dough for stadium naming rights. It's the best of both worlds.
As far as we know, BYU does not have stadium naming rights up for sale. But if it were to make that move, which corporations might bite on a sponsorship deal?
The obvious leaders
Nothing is more Utah County than a multi-level marketing company, and nobody's been at it longer locally than Nu Skin Enterprises. The company is headquartered in Provo and now has expendable cash for this kind of thing now that Nu Skin is no longer the official sponsor of the Utah Jazz dancers. Plus, its logo is blue and would fit in well.
The security systems/home monitoring/home energy company is an obvious choice as it already has its name on one of the two prime ad spaces next to the new LED ribbon in the stadium. Like I suspect of Nu Skin, I have a hunch Vivint might be preparing to vie for the rights to the Utah Jazz's arena when Energy Solutions' contract expires, which I believe is coming soon. (Though having two stadiums didn't stop Maverik, which now owns naming rights to the former E Center in West Valley and Utah State's football stadium simultaneously.)
Problems: Such an agreement could mean summer salespeople proselytize to fans, and its logo is really orange.
Deseret First Credit Union
Financial institutions are often at the forefront of stadium naming rights battles, and DFCU's current tag line is "Serving the LDS community since 1955." There are plenty of Mormons in northern Utah that bank with somebody else, so it would be a decent business move. Until recently, DFCU was the sponsor that supplanted the customary All State Good Hands sponsorship on the field goal nets.
Perks: Get free financial advice or sign up for a new checking account during halftime.
Rhodes is a BYUtv advertising staple. You can play the ad by memory. A batch of bake-n-serve rolls goes from package to oven to table while a piano version of "Simple Gifts" tinkles in the background, leading to: "Simple things to make life better -- Rhodes Bake-N-Serve dun dun dun dun." /scene
But envision with us the spokesperson opportunities afforded by this sponsorship. "Hi, I'm BYU football head coach Bronco Mendenhall here for Rhodes Bake-N-Serve. As everyone knows, there isn't much I love more than icing. That's why I'm so excited about these cinnamon rolls."
The clear upside to Rhodes is an arrangement similar to Utah State's. Maverik will run a couple concession stands selling its staple convenience food items (admittedly, it is the best gas station food you could ever wish for). Can you imagine biting into a warm, buttery roll or enjoying warm cinnamon/orange rolls during that ice-cold November night game? Bruh.
Little is more socially LDS than food storage, which has spawned a new wave of food storage technologies and companies wanting to sell them to you. EE could get a leg up on the competition by securing naming rights to the stadium, and former BYU defensive end Matt Putnam is a divisional manager for the company. And, to be honest, it really needs to atone for its current ad (since pulled from air) that was insensitively too light-hearted about a husband and father losing his job. Give to the Lord's team, friends. (That couldn't be more tongue in cheek. "That's a joke, by the way.")
Perks: A giveaway at each home game of a year's supply of food storage, and free food storage counseling for Cougar Club members.
Neck and neck with food storage in LDS culture is family history/genealogy. Ancestry.com would be a natural fit to foray into the sports world in this very specific way. The need to spend that cash seems unlikely, however, as Ancestry.com has already partnered with the LDS Church to provide its members free access to the site. So such an expense is probably unnecessary.
The dark horses
BYU football is the source of the most organic, free publicity Rancheritos has ever obtained. Utah's more-authentic, open-24-hours Mexican fast food establishment was home to a Halloween night brawl in 2012 which involved some BYU footballers. A couple players were dismissed from the team (and from school). The Cougars' next game didn't happen until Nov. 10 -- a cold, snowy, late-night mauling of Idaho -- and the game was so boring that BYU Twitter spent a majority of the game cracking #Rancheritos jokes.
That snow is piled up like you-know-what after eating at #Rancheritos.— Francisco R. Ruiz (@CiscoRu) November 11, 2012
Rancherito, it’s what’s for dinner! RT @DevinD33: Apparently idaho hasn't seen how BYU players fight!! Trying to scrap with Apo??— Trent Ladle (@phred84044) November 11, 2012
Buckner INT!!!!! Take your trip #Rancheritos young man!!!— Kurtis Larson (@kwlarson) November 11, 2012
I want Tom Holmoe to Rancherito this singing BYU commercial...— Mars (@eldermars) November 11, 2012
hahahahaha! "@FranciscoRoRuiz: Ridley totally rancherito'd that poor soul. #Rancheritos"— Sang Kim (@5lbtrout) November 11, 2012
NEVER. BYU WANTS ALL OF YOUR RANCHERITOS. RT @cougaracity: Are we not afraid of Rancherito-ing these Rancherito jokes?— Steve Pierce (@PostJimmer) November 11, 2012
The godfather of BYU print media even got in on the fun:
BYU up 42-10 and only 17 minutes left until I can have my favorite #Rancheritos menu late-night snack, the macho nachos plate w/extra onion— Dick Harmon (@Harmonwrites) November 11, 2012
KSL's Cleon Wall tried throwing a wet blanket on the fun...
And BYU covers the spread. That means we can all stop making lame Rancherito jokes.— Cleon Wall (@kslcleon) November 11, 2012
...but the joke's on you, sir. BYU fumbled a punt with 10 seconds left and Idaho kicked a field goal as time expired, giving the Vandals one of the most awesome detonations to a betting spread I can remember. That made it so BYU did not cover the spread. (PSA: Don't bet on sports.)
Bring it full circle, Rancheritos. We love your breakfast burritos and want them sold at the concession stand. Your brand was meant for BYU football.
When you live in a state with the highest percentage of Mormons (whose doctrine prohibits drinking alcohol), it was only a matter of time before someone had the bright idea of opening a drive-thru fountain drink shop featuring all the custom flavors you could imagine. It started in southern Utah, but Swig now has locations in both Provo and Orem -- and Swig Stadium sounds pretty awesome.
There's an obvious caveat here: BYU would need to drop the ridiculous, non-doctrinally founded prohibition of caffeinated sodas. The Church sells caffeinated drinks on Temple Square, for Jimmer's sake. Can you imagine how backward the visitors from, say, Mississippi State or Florida State must have felt in the stadium? They knew they wouldn't be buying beer at the game, but I can only imagine the disappointment when these Southerners found out they couldn't buy a gawl-dern Coke. It's nuts. Drop the Pharisaical tyranny, BYU, and prepare your bank account, because your concession revenue is about to triple.
So back to the sponsorship: Imagine Swig stands all throughout the concourse, with fans merrily mixing to taste soda concoctions of supreme deliciousness. You couldn't dream of a better stadium experience on a warm September afternoon.
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There you have it. What companies would you put on the list?