If you were on the Twitters this morning, you probably saw the steady stream of toilet humor from Cubs fans and beat reporters alike. This is because the Chicago Cubs have partnered with Sloan Valve Company as a new legacy sponsor:
Welcome to Sloan Valve Company as our official water efficiency partner and new #Cubs Spring Training facility naming rights holder.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 8, 2015
Sloan Park in Mesa (formerly Cubs Park) will feature Sloan’s water-efficient products, helping the team’s ongoing sustainability efforts. — Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 8, 2015
Here’s a peek at the new Sloan Park logo and renderings for Mesa. pic.twitter.com/31yInlwIvV
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 8, 2015
The Ricketts family hasn’t completely eliminated the possibility of naming rights at Wrigley Field in Chicago, but let’s pretend that won’t happen with Sloan (the new gates and entrances to Wrigley may get names, though). However:
In addition to naming rights to “Sloan Park” in Mesa, plumbing fixture company will have signage in the visiting team bullpen at Wrigley.
— Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker) January 8, 2015
This deal is apparently worth quite a bit of dough:
#Cubs sign Sloan Valve for naming rights to spring training park in Mesa. 10+ years, 7 figures annually. Sloan 109-yr-old Chgo brand.
— Don Muret (@breakground) January 8, 2015
Friend of the blog Aisle 424 had a good observation of the new sponsorship:
The Cubs either have no self-awareness or have no problems being the butt of obvious jokes if there is revenue involved.
— Timmingham III, Esq. (@Aisle424) January 8, 2015
Now let’s go back to the money. That’s over a decade with a cash flow of at least $1 million (that’s minimal seven figures), but I’m betting it’s over $2MM per annum. This isn’t too bad for minor naming rights since the Mesa facility is only used for a little over a month and eventually the Wrigley bullpens will be moved, so the Sloan signage at Wrigley Field will have to be relocated as well. I looked up some naming rights deals and among Chicago pro sports teams, the Bulls get $1.8MM/year for the United Center and the White Sox get $3MM/year for US Cellular Field. In this case Sloan gets free advertising at the modern Mesa facility, some exposure at Wrigley, and its logo will be splattered (huh huh) across restrooms (via Patrick Mooney) at both ball parks, so the price I’m suggesting seems fair given that level of exposure even if you don’t care whose toilet you’re peeing into.
Chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement: “Teaming up with Sloan – another family-owned company based in Chicago with more than a century of history – is an important move for the Cubs as we look to provide clean and sustainable water solutions for our facilities in both Mesa and Chicago.”
The clean and sustainable water solutions part is very important in the desert climate (probably not too bad in the early spring months before temperatures get to flambe), but considering how many people line up for potty breaks throughout a ball game, saving a few million gallons here and there means a huge break on the water bill.
As for the toilet humor, I think we as fans are going to have fun with it (we’re Cubs fans, after all, we have to laugh at ourselves) and it sounds like the team and the Sloan folks aren’t taking themselves too seriously either.
“The good news is they don’t take themselves too seriously,” Faulkner said. “They want to have a lot of fun with this, and this is an easy one to try to tie in the troughs and the restrooms.”
“Sloan is passionate about providing intelligent water solutions to the communities we serve,” said Sloan President Jim Allen in a statement. “We are excited to have a major presence both in Chicago and Mesa to authentically convey the message of water sustainability.”
In the long run, it seems like everyone wins. Sloan gets exposure for their excellent products (check out their page, some of these products are actually kind of cool if you’re into saving water), the Cubs get cash and save a bit on their water bill, and Cubs fans get to both reap the rewards of the extra cash infusion and make self-deprecating toilet jokes.
It’s best not to take yourself too seriously, especially when someone hands you a shitload of money (HEYOOOOO).