Sunday, June 29, 2003

Big business is king of all things sports

For a few bucks you can stick your name on athletics

By Ryan Ernst
The Cincinnati Enquirer

And just in case there was any doubt about the entire sports world being crazier than Mariah Carey after the release of Glitter, we have this latest piece of news.

The Chicago Bears have agreed to a multimillion-dollar arrangement with corporate sponsor Bank One that will make "Bears football presented by Bank One" a signature phrase for the team.

Stop the ride; we at Top of the Second want off.

Bank One spokesman Tom Kelly said the arrangement "reaffirms in our hometown that we're Chicago's leading bank and we intend to stay that way." Kelly then winked and used his thumb and pointer finger in a gun-shooting gesture. Not really, but that doesn't make this whole situation any less harebrained.

But while we're at it, couldn't we match these corporate sponsors to the teams with which they're affiliated, sponsors that somehow reflect the team's persona. Think of it, wouldn't you rather hear about:

• Chico's Bail Bonds presents Fresno State men's basketball.

• Detroit Tigers baseball brought to you by Lender's Bagels.

• "Hey kids, whaddya say we jump in the car and go see some Portland Trailblazers basketball brought to us by Zig-Zag rolling papers?"

Then, in the next step toward the complete annihilation of sports in this country, the names of cities will be dropped. And heaven forbid we forget those trademarks. We could tune in and watch:

• The Dirt Devil{trade} Rays

• The Peter Pan{trade}thers

• The Blue Bonnet{trade} Jackets

• The Mobil Oil{trade}ers

• The Fighting Irish Spring{trade}

• The Dodge Ram{trade}s

And then there are all the slogans; some companies wouldn't even have to change their ad campaigns. Think of the possibilities here:

• Morton Salt presents Los Angeles Clippers basketball. Morton Salt: When it rains, it pours.

• The Super Bowl halftime show is presented by Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. It's the cheesiest!

• This Scott Williamson save opportunity is brought to you by Martini & Rossi. Martini & Rossi: For people who share a taste for excitement.

• Burger King brings you Georgia basketball. Sometimes you've got to break the rules.

We're number two; we try harder. Eastern Conference basketball presented by Avis Rental Cars.

• This Anna Kournikova tennis match is brought to you by Canon. Image is everything.

• Timex brings you Evander Holyfield boxing. Timex: Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

•Philips presents Cincinnati Bengals football. Philips: Let's make things better.




Reds 5, Indians 4
Reds notebook: Mercker put on disabled list
Old-timer playing a changed game
Slick fielder seizing his opportunity
Reds chatter
Reds Q&A
Larson gets confidence, swing back

Daugherty: Browning continues fight for Freedom
Rockies 5, Pirates 4
Interleague: Lowell, Marlins overcome Red Sox
Expect a few All-Star flaws
MLB power rankings
Almonte puts 2001 scandal behind him
From bash to bars: Canseco awaits trial

Levett is back at UC - as a student

Agassi adapts game to advance
Wild-card Russian teen wins again
Serena still waiting for a test at Wimbledon
Spots remain for Met tennis

Lietzke eyes long-awaited major win

Missing Baylor player feared dead
IRL's Dixon leaves SunTrust field behind
Tour de France: Armstrong, opponents gearing up

Big business is king of all things sports
Tale O' the Tape
Page Two power rankings

Weekend sports on TV, radio