Quick, tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you see a red downward arrow. Off the top of my head it’s the stock market falling, poll numbers dropping and sports teams on losing streaks. A red arrow pointing down is generally not something anyone wants to be associated with unless it’s for low rates and low prices. So that’s why Guaranteed Rate — whose company colors are red and white — uses the downward arrow for low interest rates. Now that downward arrow will adorn the Chicago White Sox home stadium. Just a thought, but that is probably going to be misinterpreted for the White Sox losing.
Outside of the 2005 World Series, the White Sox haven’t really been good since Frank Thomas. Now their fans can be reminded of the team’s downward trend every time they go to a game. People create associations in their brain. No matter how much Guaranteed Rate wants the downward arrow to create an association with low interest rates, it won’t happen when it arrow is adorning the outside of what used to be U.S. Cellular Field. The only thing fans will think of is the downward arrow and the White Sox downward trend — especially during a losing streak. It’s actually kind of funny — as long as you aren’t a White Sox fan. This is going to turn into a running joke.
This shows the power that sponsors have over their business partners. The White Sox did not want this to happen. White Sox fans weren’t happy about Guaranteed Rate Field, never mind the arrow logo. It doesn’t matter. Guaranteed Rate is paying money to be the naming rights sponsors and they aren’t changing their branding.
In any case, the White Sox asked for it to be changed and it wasn’t. The downward red arrow is going to be associated with the team. That’s tough especially because the naming rights deal is a paltry $2 million per year — well below the $4 million average for MLB parks. This just confirms where the power is when it comes to professional sports. Sponsors are the true players who can make change. No decision is made in a vacuum. Sponsors affect everything from forced ownership changes — witness the Donald Sterling fiasco — to where events are held.
The White Sox just lost again, and this time it was to their naming rights partner. Start the downward arrow for their losing streak at one.