Who knew that Jerry Reinsdorf was such a big fan of Rev. 99’s “Everything Changed After 7-11?” The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir, fresh from delivering a critical beatdown to Thom Brennaman and Steve Lyons, reports on the latest example of corporate sponsorship run amuck.
It is not easy to conjure $500,000 out of the ether, but the Chicago White Sox have discovered a way. Their financial trick was really quite simple.
They changed their evening game times at U.S. Cellular Field.
No more 7:05 p.m. or 7:35 p.m. games, of which there are about 50. They will all begin, for the next three seasons, at 7:11 p.m., courtesy of 7-Eleven, the convenience store giant, which will pay the team an average of a half-million dollars a year to be the name behind the time.
œIt™s a fun way to insert our name into fans™ hearts and minds, said Margaret Chabris, a 7-Eleven spokeswoman. œWe think it™s worth way more than $500,000. She said that 7-Eleven is talking to other baseball teams about sponsorship deals that would include starting their games at 7:11.
But the connection was not immediately obvious. Ryan Gribble, the team™s manager of corporate partnerships, said he was noodling around a few weeks ago in search of ways to use the numerical values of 7-Eleven.
The White Sox Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio wore No. 11, which is retired. Jerry Owens, who had nine at-bats for the team this season, wears No. 7. Maybe something with the seventh-inning stretch. Then his mind shifted to time.
œMost of our night games started at 7:05, but the first pitch was really at 7:07 or 7:09, Gribble said. Suddenly, 7:11 was not very far-fetched.
Gribble and Brooks Boyer, the White Sox™s vice president for marketing, brought the idea to Jerry Reinsdorf, the team™s controlling owner.
Reinsdorf™s personal numerology is somewhat suited to the deal. He will turn 71, although not a perfect 711, on Feb. 25.
It’s only a matter of time before the Red Sox sell the naming rights to gravity.