Shirt Sponsor Madness

Posted on February 10, 2010


One of the phenomena about March Madness that every guy has experienced goes like this:  you wait until the brackets for the NCAA tournament come out, pore over every detail about the matchups and subject yourself to endless diets of Joe Lunardi, Dick Vitale, Seth Davis and Digger Phelps in search of that elusive “perfect bracket”.  Then after the Sweet Sixteen, you look at the standings of the office pool that you covet winning and realize that the current leader is the secretary’s assistant who chose all the winners based on three criteria 1) uniform prettiness, 2) mascot favoritism and 3) point guard hotness.  Cue crushing despair.  It’s not fun, but we’ve all been there.

It’s such a persistent phenomenon that it’s hard to argue with.  We all want to believe that it’s luck that these ladies all win with such a dubious strategy.  How could they do it?  We crunch all the numbers, we watch all the basketaball, we listen to Billy Packer until we can’t take it any more and just go to Meijer to puncture all the basketballs in a floor display.  Surely our method would be more likely to yield results.  And yet, every year, somebody with no actual knowledge of basketball picks every game’s winner correctly, while college hoops Rain Men everywhere watch their title game picks crash out in the second round.  It’s foolproof.

So why not try the ladies’ approach out on Fulham’s FA Cup match with Notts County?  Methods one and three (uniform prettiness and player hotness) are out for me as I continue to maintain an unblemished career of staunch heterosexuality.  And method two (mascot warfare) is out as well, mostly because I have no idea what Fulham’s mascot actually is.  Based on my brief visit to the suburb of Fulham and a walk through Bishop’s Park, I would have to guess that it’s Terry The Middle-Class Family Man, although if this is the case then Fulham loses to all teams except ones whose mascot is Male Pattern Baldness, a 401(k) or Newt Gingrich.  In reality I’ve heard Fulham called the Cottagers and Nott’s County is the Magpies.  I can’t even imagine how a magpie would fight a cottage, so it’s probably best to move on.

But how about whose shirt sponsor is having a better year from a business perspective?  Ah yes, I like this!  Fulham’s shirt sponsor this year (and for the past several) is LG, a South Korean electronics and chemical conglomerate.  Despite the scariness of the name, LG is really most known for its electronics line.  They make cell phones and also own Zenith Electronics, which is the electronics equivalent of owning a hockey puck company in Botswana.  Notts County, by contrast, is sponsored by Medoc.  Medoc is a “Nottingham-based technology solutions company”.  Despite the description, which has a whiff of “front for various criminal enterprises”, Medoc counts among its product lines a cash register division, business-to-business transaction software, and live puma training.  Ok, I made that last one up.

So which team will win?  I think it’s pretty clear that Fulham’s shirt sponsor had a better year than Notts County.  Considering that Medoc isn’t even listed on Yahoo! Finace and LG was, I can only assume that Medoc (possibly spooked from a year of tough sales) deleted their Yahoo! and Facebook accounts and tried to lay low for awhile.   This may or may not be true, but the reality is that only LG had a verifiable revenue numberfor me to look at to make the decision.  Fulham wins by default!  Fantastic.

That was way harder than I thought.  How do these ladies do it?  Maybe one day ESPN will show us how.

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