a bust for Invesco's naming rights
By James Paton
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Two Denver companies will get a lot of bang for their buck
during the widely watched NFL playoff games on Sunday and in
the days leading up to the matchups. Actually, make that
one Denver company.
Millions of football fans this weekend will see and hear the
names Qwest Field and Invesco Field at Mile High. Multiple
While Qwest clearly will benefit from the television and
newspaper exposure, Invesco is another story.
Viewers and listeners tuned to the Broncos and Steelers game
couldn't buy an Invesco mutual fund if they wanted to. The
Invesco operation offering an array of stock and bond funds
to American consumers no longer exists. Invesco and its
portfolios were folded into sibling firm AIM Investments of
Houston, in case you forgot.
Amvescap still has an Invesco brand of products for
institutional buyers, but the executives in suits overseeing
the assets of pension funds, university endowments and
insurance companies are not the kind of people influenced by
advertising and mass marketing.
Naming-rights pacts make more sense for companies going
after average customers, such as American sports fans
watching football games on the tube, experts said. That's
why Invesco liked the idea of naming rights in 2001, when it
was a growing retail brand.
"The universe of people you can reach is much larger when
your target is retail consumers," said Dean Bonham, the
Denver-based naming-rights guru who helped Qwest negotiate
Aside from that, the deals tend to work better as part of a
broader marketing push. Qwest, for instance, is advancing
along those lines, he said. Invesco, on the other hand, "is
doing nothing to take advantage of the marketing
opportunities presented by the naming-rights deal,"
according to Bonham.
Invesco agreed to pay $60 million over 20 years for the
naming rights in Denver and has a separate advertising
contract with the Broncos, also worth $60 million. The
company has said it is sticking to the plan.
Qwest, the Denver telecommunications company, forged a deal
to hand over a reported $4 million to $5 million a year for
up to 15 years for the rights to put its corporate label on
the Seahawks' stadium in Seattle.
When teams make it to the playoffs, it pays off even more.
The names attached to the stadiums are then seen and heard
up to 300 million additional times by consumers, according
to the Bonham Group. If you were to put a price tag on that
playoff publicity, it could reach $1 million, the company
Qwest, which reached its deal in 2004, clearly is happy with
the arrangement so far.
"I expect to be on Qwest's fruit basket list for years based
on the Seahawks' success this year," said Bonham, who also
writes a sports- marketing column for the
Rocky Mountain News.
"This is extraordinary timing."
As for Amvescap, the company strongly disagrees with the
idea that the money is being wasted. Invesco, which manages
$117 billion in assets for institutions in the U.S., is a
name worth promoting, the company's Ivy McLemore said.
But Matt Yonan, a Denver-based sponsorship expert, noted
that touting AIM Investments would make a whole lot more
"They have an asset, and they're not using it," he said.
Marketing and advertising only works when consumers are
exposed to a product that they can buy later on.
James Paton and David
Milstead take turns writing Up and Down 17th Street. Contact
patonj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-2544.
About James Paton
reporter James Paton takes turns writing Up and Down 17th
Street with David Milstead.