What’s the deal with stadium naming rights?
Dec 1, 2021
Episode 569

What’s the deal with stadium naming rights?

And Molly's final show.

Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be renamed Crypto.com Arena this month. The news made quite a splash for the cryptocurrency exchange. And it left one listener wondering how naming rights work. We look at the history of these deals and how they happen. Plus, we answer your questions about the cost of switching from gas to electric appliances, why people want to abolish the Federal Reserve and if the two-week notice is really necessary.

And finally, we’ll take some time at the end to say farewell our friend and co-host, Molly Wood.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Make Me Smart December 1, 2021 transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Molly Wood: Yes, let’s do a show, speaking of crying our eyes out.

Kimberly Adams: Your last show. 

Molly Wood: Hello, everyone. I’m Molly Wood. Welcome back to Make Me Smart where we make today makes sense. Thank you for joining us. I’m not crying already, I’m going out with a wicked head cold, it’s not COVID. Although we do have apparently Omicron in San Francisco right across the bay. So I guess you never know. It’s not funny. 

Kimberly Adams: Oh, I mean, I guess that’s kind of coming full circle from starting the daily. You know.

Molly Wood: I know, right. Good point. Good point.

Kimberly Adams: Well, I’m Kimberly Adams, this is what do you know, what do you want to know Wednesday? And that means it is time for us to answer listener questions. If you have a question that you’d like us to answer in a future episode, you can send it our way, we’re at makemesmart@marketplace.org. You can call us and leave us a voicemail, our number is 508-827-6278. That’s 508-UB-SMART.

Molly Wood: Alright. Let’s rock it. Last week, Kimberly and Kai did a deep dive about the Federal Reserve. And we got this not insubstantial question. 

Carlos: Hi, my name is Carlos. And I live in Miami, Florida, very sunny Miami, Florida. My question is, why do some people want to abolish the Fed? Thank you. 

Molly Wood: Right? No big deal. Why don’t we just get rid of that, Kimberly? What would happen?

Kimberly Adams: You know, forget all this whole, what are interest rates going to be and who gets to decide, like, leave it up–well, there are varying reasons across the political spectrum why people want to get rid of the Fed. You know, as we talked about in the deep dive, some people say that it really contributes to economic inequality and widening the wealth gap. And that it just helps–the way that the Fed uses its tools to maneuver in the, maneuver the economy allows rich people to get richer, and kind of puts additional barriers in the way of lower income folks moving up the economic ladder. That tends to be the argument that you’ll hear from folks on the left who want to eliminate the Fed. On the right, you get people like Ron Paul, who we mentioned, who really want to get rid of it because it’s another sign of big government and too much government intervention. And the idea that the Federal Reserve is, needs to step back and leave it to free market capitalism. Ron Paul also wants to go back to the gold standard, which basically every economist you’re going to talk to is gonna say is a terrible, terrible idea. But it kind of fits in with this, we don’t want the federal government intervening in what businesses and local communities are trying to do. And a somebody, a group of people sitting in Washington making these decisions that influence the entirety of the US economy is, in their opinion, a bad idea. So those are some of the arguments.

Molly Wood: And banks to be clear, right? Because there’s also this argument that’s sort of, it’s a corollary to the Ron Paul argument of the sort of libertarian idea of not so much big government, but also like, with a dash of Occupy Wall Street, right, the idea that the Fed’s primary constituents is supposed to be the, you know, economic health of the American people. But that, in fact, it’s, it’s basically a cartel of banks, which is another, yet another one of the criticisms.

Kimberly Adams: They do have the different Federal Reserve Banks of, I mean, it is a group of banks. I’m sure that they don’t like being called a cartel.

Molly Wood: I mean, I didn’t say it. I just read it on Wikipedia. 

Kimberly Adams: That’s kind of funny. Yeah.

Molly Wood: I mean, you can kind of go down a weird Federal Reserve rabbit hole when you read about what, you know, people like, there are, there seem to be legitimate, a legitimate after the fact, you know, determinate, determination that the Fed exacerbated the great, great depression in the 20s by tightening monetary supply, that may have been at the direction of the President, in part, but that also, that was, you know, big people make the argument that like, maybe the Fed doesn’t work.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, have made the argument that the Fed made the recovery from the Great Recession take longer by, you know, raising interest rates too quickly and stuff.

Molly Wood: And fueled the bubble in the first place with low interest rates. It seems like the Fed might get blamed no matter what, but, I mean, I think it’s, you know, basically lots of reasonable questions to ask, although it seems like the consensus is that flawed though it may occasionally be, the Fed is not going anywhere.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, probably not. Okay. Our next question comes from Lee in New Jersey. They ask, I looked into replacing my gas appliances with electric, but stoves seem to require a 220 volt line of which I have none in my house. Surely this affects the economics of switching from gas to electric. Can you address this? Molly, this is all you.

Molly Wood: You know, it definitely does. I like this, again, also very first, we have the huge 10,000 foot question. And then they’re like, what about the 220? This is true. Like, if you are switching from a gas stove to an electric or induction range, you will need to plug the stove into a 220 volt electrical outlet. A lot of people upgrade their electrical to 220 when they get an electric car. Also, both of those involve an electrician and can cost you between $350 and $1,000, depending on where you live. The cost of capping the gas line is another $350. And electric stovetops, plain electric is about the same price as gas, maybe even a little cheaper. Inductive ranges which, you know, heat through induction and are super pimp, like they heat up and cool down super fast and are as responsive as gas, which is part of the reason that people like them, are very expensive, like $1,500 minimum expensive. Yeah, so and I’m not trying to be a buzzkill. What I’m trying to say is that this is why in some cases, incentives are going to be required if we want people to switch to electric in their homes. New homes need to be built with to 20 already. A lot of them are being built, you know, some states are passing laws that say you can’t build new housing developments that have gas hookups at all. But I think, you know, the idea of rebates and incentives that worked with energy consumption, you know, what is the energy standard that I’m thinking of, the one that came out of Cal, you know, the one that’s like, plastered on everything.

Kimberly Adams: LEED certified? 

Molly Wood: LEED certified for buildings, but also even just the like, we don’t even think of it anymore, because it’s just on every fridge.

Kimberly Adams: It’s like the little leaf, the little scale says how efficient it is.

Molly Wood: Exactly. So those things, those are the things–I’m sure Bridget’s like, alright, got it. We just need to like–

Kimberly Adams: I know, I’m opening up slack right now.

Molly Wood: Help. Anyway, it worked with energy efficiency in terms of marketing and rebates and incentives, but that is what it’s going to take because it will be expensive for people to make some of these switches, some counties are already starting to do it. Marin County offers $500 to single family property owners who switched from gas to electrical. But that’s in California. And that’s actually not even, like $500 isn’t gonna cut it, you know, so it’s gonna have to, it’s gonna have to get more aggressive, but also, hopefully, prices will come down as like it, you know, what rich people do tends to trickle down to the masses, like early adopters are what make new technologies more affordable. So it’s gonna be a little bit of a bell curve.

Kimberly Adams: And this is what you’ve really been getting into in your, yeah, in your podcast, it’s like, it’s gonna take all of these small changes, plus the really big ones, to do what needs to happen in order to mitigate climate change. And here’s somebody who wrote in and is trying to do something better for the climate, but there’s this cost barrier. And all every single one of these little pain points kind of have to be addressed if we’re going to fix this. 

Molly Wood: Yep. Absolutely. 

Kimberly Adams: Or not fix it. It’s probably too late to fix it. But you know what I mean.

Molly Wood: Survive, I believe. How we survive.

Kimberly Adams: How we survive. Next up we have a voicemail from Greg in Torrance, California. He asks:

Greg: Can you make me smart about stadium naming rights? So the Staples Center here in LA is soon going to become the crypto.com center for the next 20 years. But our local soccer stadium is the Home Depot–no–it is the StubHub–no–it is the Dignity Health Center, which has gone through three name changes in the past 15 years. Many thanks, love the show. 

Kimberly Adams: I feel like since you’re the California person, I should let you start with this one.

Molly Wood: Because we have to live with crypto.com? Yeah, thanks.

Kimberly Adams: Yes, basically.

Molly Wood: I’m pretty sure actually that the, the stadium where the San Francisco Giants baseball team plays in San Francisco, I believe is officially known as AT&T Stadium. But like, we all still call it PAC Bell. So first of all, there’s the actual deals, then there’s what people are willing to say anymore. I mean, naming rights for stadiums has a long history, of course, it started sort of around the 90s. And you know, of course, it’s like great advertising and exposure, and brand trust and like, oh, I’m a new company or a new thing like crypto. And I want everybody to say it over and over and over until it becomes totally normalized. But in terms of them first of all, the crypto.com thing, in case you missed this, crypto.com recently bought the naming rights to the downtown Los Angeles arena currently known as the Staples Center, a pretty famous one. It’s a 20-year deal, reportedly worth $700 million. But to the kind of, I think, the thrust of this question, which is like, wait, does the 20 year deal really mean a 20-year deal? Staples also had originally a 20-year deal worth $116 million. Halfway through that contract, it agreed to lifetime naming rights with the stadium.

Kimberly Adams: Lifetime.

Molly Wood: But clearly, now it’s not Staples. It’s Crypto.com. So to find out how that happened, our intrepid producers called the Staples Center, VP of–AEG of Staples Center, VP of communications, Michael Roth.

Michael: In January of 2019, we were able to successfully make a deal with Staples to buy back the naming rights. And at that point, we were able to go out back to market. And if we can resell them, then we were entitled to do that, and we will be able to switch the name.

Kimberly Adams: So you have to imagine–

Molly Wood: They bought back the rights from Staples. 

Kimberly Adams: Yeah. You have to imagine they made that deal very much worth Staples interest in it.

Molly Wood: Yeah, since Staples isn’t selling a lot of staples these days, I bet they were happy to get that cash. 

Kimberly Adams: I bet they were too. And, I mean, what your point earlier, yeah, your point earlier about how, you know, just getting somebody say something over and over again can lend authority and validity and maybe even embed you better into a community is a good one. So if your local sportscasters, or your national sportscasters are saying this over and over again, and it’s on your ticket, and it’s on the branding, and it’s on the team bus or whatever, I guess it wouldn’t be on the bus. It’s on the stadium. It’s in all the pictures. So I think, you know, especially for something like crypto, which is trying to become more mainstream, that this makes a lot of sense, I guess. 

Molly Wood: It does. I mean, it does make it seem, you know, more like, the more times you hear it, the more legit it’s gonna sound. Yeah. All right, our last question comes from–your what?

Kimberly Adams: We’ve had Busch Stadium in St. Louis forever, I don’t think they’re gonna ever let that go. 

Molly Wood: No. And nor should they. Seriously. Alright, our last question comes from Shannon in Tucker, Georgia.

Shannon: Since Molly is leaving, and since we are staring down the barrel of the continued great resignation, I want to know about the history of two-weeks notice. Why do people give two weeks notice? And the second part of the question would be is anyone doing it anymore? Thanks for answering the question. Molly, we will miss you very much and best wishes in the future. 

Molly Wood: Oh, thanks, Shannon.

Kimberly Adams: Well, thanks for giving us more than two weeks notice, Molly.

Molly Wood:  A long goodbye of like, stinky fish around here.

Kimberly Adams: No, nice smelling fish, the kind that even Kai would allow us to microwave in the office. So, I mean, people give two weeks notice to be polite. Unlike the history of the origins of the 40 hour work week, we really don’t know where two weeks notice started exactly. And it’s a courtesy. It’s not the law. You don’t have to do it unless you have a contract that forces you to, and as Molly just said, some contracts have wiggle room. But most employees in America, including me, are an at will employee, you’re in an at will relationship with your boss, which means you can be fired at any point without getting any advance notice. But most experts think that this two week notice on the employee side started sometime in the 40s or 50s at least, and that’s when a lot of these big companies as, you know, that’s when a lot of these big companies started formalizing their HR practices and putting it into handbooks, and it just kind of stuck. But then more recently, especially among younger workers, people are just like, why are we doing this? Because if, you know, especially during the recession when people were just getting fired or laid off with, with no notice, they were like, why are we going to give our employers notice when they don’t give us any notice? Megan McCarty Carino did a story on this a while back, which we’ll have a link to it in the show notes. And it, it really goes through a lot of this, which is pretty interesting.

Molly Wood: That’s so fascinating that we have this social contract that basically says employees will be nice to you on the way out the door. Even, you know, I mean, granted when people are leaving in a real rage, maybe not. But still, most of the time that people are leaving a job, there’s dissatisfaction involved, and it’s surprising that then the people, it’s the expectation that the employee will be like, but I’ll ease the transition for you. Now, granted, you get paid a little longer. So if you don’t already have a new job, I guess that’s useful in terms of those two weeks. But it is, it is not necessarily reciprocal. It’s true.

Kimberly Adams: And it’s also worth noting that especially right now with such a tight labor market and people just job hopping all over the place, a lot of people aren’t giving notice anymore, and it can put employers in a bind when they suddenly have, you know, an empty seat to fill.

Molly Wood: Yeah, absolutely. Well–

Kimberly Adams: Speaking of which–

Molly Wood: We’ve put it off long enough. Exactly. On that note, that is it for us today. That is it for me. Today is my last day on Make Me Smart, it was one full month’s notice. I’ll have you know. And here at Marketplace. Out of respect for my colleagues and this wonderful audience, we wanted to give you lots of time to prepare yourselves for this day. Thank you for listening. And thank you for giving me and Marketplace this one incredible gift on the way out, which is that we crushed the GivingTuesday goal. Crushed it, raised over $130,000 in one day. And let me remind you, because I’m taking every chance I can at public radio gold, it was $1 for dollar challenge. So you successfully unlocked a Marketplace investors challenge fund, if I could give you a tote bag I would. 

Kimberly Adams: Achievement unlocked. 

Molly Wood: If you still want to give, there are, I believe, a couple of pairs of banana pants left. Marketplace.org/givesmart. Just saying.

Kimberly Adams: We’ll always have the banana pants, Molly.

Molly Wood: We will always have the banana pants. I have three pairs and I’m never giving them up, except to my kid. I got one special, I donated, I donated the full amount, you should know, just so I could get one pair for my kid. I’ll be supporting you from afar.

Kimberly Adams: Gonna miss you, Molly. Not that we won’t still be zooming cocktails, but still.

Molly Wood: Exactly. We’ll be zooming cocktails and I will be listening, and to all of our listeners and friends, thanks for a great ride. You’re the best. I will see you all on the internet.

Kimberly Adams: Make Me Smart and I will be back tomorrow to host a hollowed out shell of a Thursday which will be particularly hollowed out with Molly gone. In the meantime, keep sending your questions, we’re at makemesmart@marketplace.org. Or leave us a voicemail. Our number is 508-827-6278, also known as 508-UB-SMART.

Molly Wood: It’s such a good song. 

Kimberly Adams: Today’s episode of Make Me Smart was produced by Marissa Cabrera and Marque Greene. It was engineered by Lianna Squillace. Our intern is Grace Rubin.

Molly Wood: Ben Tolliday and Daniel Ramirez composed our theme music oh so long ago, and our senior producer is the one and only Bridget Bodnar, best in the biz. Damn, this is feeling a little real right now, not gonna lie.

Kimberly Adams: It is a little real. But awesome things ahead. Yeah?

Molly Wood: Exactly. It’s gonna be great. You’ve all, everybody’s, we’ve all got this. We’ve all got this.

Kimberly Adams: We’ve all got this. And now I have tears.

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The team

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