Cringe of the Day: Mandalay Bay Events Center Renamed Michelob Ultra Arena

How tough are times at Mandalay Bay? Naming rights bad.

The 12,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center has been renamed Michelob Ultra Arena.

Our reaction to this news is akin to being on a Las Vegas vacation and realizing you forgot your razor, so you have to groom your nether regions with Biore strips. While submerged in salt water. But worse.

Mandalay arena
We definitely need a shorthand way of saying Michelob Ultra Arena. We’re going with “meh.”

Financial details of the multi-year naming rights deal haven’t been made public, but whatever Mandalay Bay (and its owner, MGM Resorts) made from the deal, it isn’t enough.

Beyond the fundamental awkwardness of forcing customers to refer to a venue by a product name, it’s technically “Michelob ULTRA Arena,” as if the person doing the naming was experiencing some sort of seizure.

While everyone in the media is just regurgitating the news release about this deal, nobody’s really asking if it makes sense for anyone involved.

Everyone’s too busy cutting and pasting this quote from Chuck Bowling, Mandalay Bay’s President and COO: “We’re pleased to welcome Anheuser-Busch, a company we have great admiration for, as our naming rights partner at Mandalay Bay.”

Yes, Chuck Bowling admires Anheuser-Busch. Seriously, bro, raise the bar for who gets your admiration. It’s a beer company. You admire their deep pockets. That’s probably more lust than admiration, but news releases need quotes, so there you have it.

It’s also probably wise not to invest all your admiration in a beer with an average consumer score of 1.88 out of 5.

Anyway, the fact is naming rights deals are a huge waste of money for the companies gullible enough to pay for them.

There’s simply no correlation between such sponsorship deals and people consuming one’s product.

We defy you to find anyone who has has ever flown on Allegiant or signed up for T-Mobile because the names of those companies are on our stadium and arena.

Naming rights are ego-driven, plain and simple.

They’re a money grab by venues who definitely aren’t going to tell sponsors their investment is being flushed. Read more.

So, Mandalay Bay gets some revenue while customers are annoyed and the brand is diminished.

It’s yet another example of a company going for short-term gain while sacrificing long-term goodwill.

The bottom line: Mandalay Bay wasn’t doing particularly well prior to the pandemic, so there’s no way they’d turn down free money now if somebody’s foolish enough to throw it at them.