Tigers Hit Home Run for Comerica Bank on Naming Rights

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The Detroit Tigers may have had a short run in the playoffs, but thanks to the team’s strong performance during the regular season, Comerica Bank received about $10.9 million in “exposure value” during home games broadcasted regionally and nationally.

In comparison, the bank — which began its 30-year, $66-million contract for the naming rights of Comerica Park in 2000 — garnered about $7.3 million in television exposure during the 2013 regular season, not including the playoffs.

“A naming rights agreement really provides value to the sponsor, but as indicated here with the Tigers, success has helped to expand that value and exposure year after year,” says Eric Smallwood, senior vice president of Front Row Marketing Services and Front Row Analytics, a national firm that has an office in St. Clair. “Being in the playoffs for four years is indicative of the number of national games they’re going to receive — they’re a more attractive team to put on national TV.”

To determine the value for a game, Smallwood tracks all branding exposure tied to the Comerica name during a given broadcast. This includes a shot showing the name above the scoreboard or a text graphic that says, “Welcome to Comerica Park.” He then uses special software to track the exposure, such as where it was and how long it appeared on the screen.

And since national games bring in more cameras, filming different angles of the stadium, signage promoting the Comerica brand received more exposure during this year’s regular season than it has in the past.

Had the Tigers advanced further into the postseason, the stadium’s namesake would have garnered brand exposure worth about $2.6 million per AL Championships Series home game, and $5.1 million per World Series home game. During this year’s divisional series, Comerica Park garnered an additional $1.4 million in total media value for the single home game held Oct. 5.

Last year, the Comerica brand garnered total media exposure of about $17.2 million, nearly $10 million of which was attributed to the Tigers’ extended participation in the playoffs.

Smallwood notes that the return on naming rights varies based on factors including the performance of a given team and league, but adds that Comerica’s signs are more likely to get exposure due to their placement and layout. “Some other stadiums, like the O.co Coliseum (for the Oakland A’s), just don’t have as many signage placements.”

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