TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Scott Jagow: After more than 30 bowl games, the college football season finally ended this week. LSU won the national championship in New Orleans. If you watched that game, you couldn’t help but notice the sponsor: AllState. Its logo was all over the field, on the players’ jerseys, on the sidewalks in New Orleans, and buses and hotels.
Allstate threw parties and parades.
But a lot of people didn’t feel like celebrating. They think the insurance company bailed on many homeowners after Hurricane Katrina.
Let’s bring in our business of sports commentator, Diana Nyad. Diana, why did AllState choose New Orleans for a bowl sponsorship?
Diana Nyad: On the one hand, let’s be fair to them, to the company, and say way before Hurricane Katrina swept into the Gulf region, Allstate has been involved in college football. And they’ve been looking for a bowl game for this particular season, and you know, who knows — maybe if the Orange Bowl or the Cotton Bowl, or other games had come available, they would have taken that. But I think their analysts looked at it and said, OK, people are ticked off at us in New Orleans, but nationwide, you know, all those cities around the country watching two of the biggest college football moments of the year are going to say, “Allstate. We’re in good hands with Allstate.” Allstate, Allstate, Allstate.
Jagow: So they knew it beforehand that there would probably be people that would be very upset with seeing logos all over the city with Allstate.
Nyad: Yeah. I mean, you know, they’ve got over 1,200 claims that are still not been settled. The people who haven’t had their homes rebuilt, they’ve got personal law suits against them. And the Allstate hands, you know, “You’re in good hands with Allstate” — well the people in New Orleans sure don’t feel that way.
Jagow: But is it just the exposure that Allstate has, or is it the fact that they’ve spent all this money on a Bowl sponsorship, when that money could be going to people’s homes?
Nyad: It’s a direct analysis. You know, imagine if you’d lost your home — and not just lost your home, a lot of people’s policies were cancelled. And they care that this company is, you know, the big championship sponsorship, you know, title company of the football game. They think it’s wrong, they think it’s immoral.
Jagow: But at the same time, New Orleans does need some rejuvenation, and it is getting it in the form of sporting events, like it or not. You’ve got the bowl games, the national championship, the NBA All-Star Game will be there this year. So you could argue that Allstate is just participating in that.
Nyad: They are. But it’s a fairly small city, and there’s a fairly big population that was hurt. And they say, you know, let’s get some other company who’s treated us a little better to come in here and throw their logo around. I personally would have thought that just over this part weekend, that they might have, you know, thrown some wonderful PR events for the flood victims that directly lost their homes and lost their policies under Allstate’s care.
Jagow: It should be noted that if you watched the bowl games and the national championship, you saw ads for car insurance and not home insurance.
Nyad: Good point. They very cleverly made sure that, you know — I mean their bread and butter is home insurance, that’s what they’re known for, but all of the national campaign and the local New Orleans campaign, whether it was print or was television, focused on their auto policies and their auto products.
Jagow: All right, Diana Nyad, thanks.
Nyad: Scott, take it easy.
Jagow: Diana Nyad is our business of sports commentator.
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