White Sox Balk At Sponsor’s Giant Downward-Pointing Arrow Outside Park, Sponsor Says ‘Too Bad’

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 24: A general view of the field before a interleague game on August 24, 2016 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. U.S. Cellular Field will become known as Guaranteed Rate Field starting in November. The team and the mortgage company announced a 13-year naming rights …
Chicago, IL

The Chicago White Sox were unhappy with their new sponsor’s logo sitting at the entrance to the park because it consists of a giant downward-pointing arrow. But the sponsor, Guaranteed Rate mortgage, essentially said too bad, the logo stays.

Fans had already expressed their ire over renaming the new Comiskey Park as “Guaranteed Rate Field,” but selling naming rights brings in big money to sports franchises and the Sox wanted to cash in on the trend. But when their new sponsor noted that a giant downward arrow would be floating in giant red lights over the entrance to the park, the team was not just a bit dismayed.

Still, the CEO of the company who purchased 13 years of sponsorship remained steadfast in keeping his company’s logo. The downward arrow indicates the low rate they offer customers. The company wants that idea in front of every sports fan.

The Sox apparently wanted the arrow replaced with a home plate shape. But Guaranteed Rate CEO Victor Ciardelli told CRAIN’S Chicago Business that it was non-negotiable.

The arrow was staying, Ciardelli said. “I told the White Sox that it’s our company logo, and they were respectful of the decision,” Ciardelli noted.

He went on saying that the whole point of buying the naming rights was to help brand his company.

“I know that there are fans that don’t like the fact that there’s a downward red arrow on the ballpark, but I have a hard time understanding the relevance between our mortgage company’s main logo and how that negatively impacts the team or the fans,” Ciardelli said. “The whole reason we’re doing this is to build national brand recognition.”

No doubt Ciardelli feels that forking over $2 million a year for 13 years should at least give him the right to put his company’s logo over the entrance to the park.

Ciardelli also made a second deal with the club to sponsor the stadium’s premium seating, so the Guaranteed Rate logo will appear inside the park, as well. Guaranteed Rate is spending a lot of money on the Sox, so some consideration is apparently expected in return.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.