June 25, 2003


DA (BANK ONE) BEARS: Oh, what would Ditka and the Superfans say? It was announced yesterday that the Chicago Bears, beginning next year, will heretofore be known as "Bank One Presents the Chicago Bears," as the bank has agreed to pay the Bears $2 million a year for the team naming rights.
While stadiums have been known by corporate names for a couple of decades, this is the first time an actual major-league sports team has taken on the name or subtitle of a corporate sponsor (no, the now-defunct Arena Football franchise the Miami Hooters does not count). The closest precedent in the world of entertainment was "The Taco Bell Dana Carvey Show," which briefly aired on ABC in 1996. A variety show starring a just-off-SNL Carvey and written by longtime Conan O'Brien writer and future "Pootie Tang" director Louis CK, the first episode featured a lactating Bill Clinton breastfeeding a litter of puppies- a sketch that so outranged higher-ups that Taco Bell angrily pulled their sponsorship, and the show itself was canceled a few weeks later.
Considering how bad the Bears were last year, perhaps Bank One will hastily withdraw from the deal after Da Bearsss go 3-13 next year. Or maybe new quarterback Kordell Stewart will suddenly start lactating in the middle of a game. But more likely the former.

Posted by Stephen Silver at June 25, 2003 11:41 PM
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