Look to the left and tell me which WNBA team owns that jersey? Did you guess the Seattle Bing? Actually, it’s the Seattle Storm and their team logo is that tiny little thing on the left shoulder (smaller than just about everything else on the jersey).
When consumers won’t pay for the value of producing content, third party advertisers step in and make the model work. However, Microsoft’s (MSFT) billboard insanely reduces the brand value of both the Seattle Storm and the WNBA.
Although this is an awesome deal for Microsoft, Storm owners and the WNBA should explain why the Bing logo isn’t the same size as the Adidas logo (while the Storm logo remained the marquee brand on the jersey). How would Lakers fans or any other NBA fans react if this were their new official jersey?
Another question regarding collateral damage: how much will these deals harm merch sales? Would you pay $44 for a Bing billboard? Or, like me, would you expect it to be almost free since it’s an advertisement.
Only time will tell, but this is another sign the recession has taken a toll on revenues and business models.