Will Amazon buy the naming rights to a town? Others have done it before
Stonecrest, Georgia really wants to host the new headquarters for corporate behemoth Amazon.
The Seattle-based company is currently in in the search process to pick a second “headquarters” location outside of their traditional home base in the Pacific Northwest. So the mayor of Stonecrest floated a unique idea: offering to rename the Atlanta-area outer-ring exurb, population 20,624, to Amazon, Georgia.
It sounds goofy, but Mayor Jason Lary is perfectly serious, telling reporters:
There are several major US cities that want Amazon, but none has the branding opportunity we are now offering this visionary company. How could you not want your 21st-century headquarters to be located in a city named Amazon?
Naming rights for Truth or Consequences, DISH and Google Fiber?
And it’s not totally unprecedented. The city of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico was renamed in a deal with 1950s TV game show of the same name. The small desert outpost continues to milk its relationship to television, recently taking center stage in an episode of Doctor Who.
In 2005 Clark, Texas, became DISH, Texas – and spelled with all-capital letters. In return, all 210 residents of the town received a free ten-year subscription from the satellite TV provider.
And in a 2010 bid to attract the internet search giant Google to build its first gigabit fiber network in Topeka, Kansas, the city officially renamed itself Google, Kansas – for a month. Google spurned the city and choose its neighbor, Kansas City, as the test bed for Google Fiber. But, in a hat tip, the company changed its search page to “Topeka” for April 1, 2010.
Naming rights a better deal than traditional economic development subsidies
In terms of a perk to offer prospective employers, Stonecrest’s offer is probably a better deal than the subsidies and sweetheart fiscal deals that traditionally accompany economic development bids.
Will Amazon be tempted by the offer? Only billionaire founder and CEO Jeff Bezos knows. In the meantime, most naming rights on the market will probably remain for stadiums and arenas.
(Jeff Bezos, Chairman and founder of Amazon.com and owner of The Washington Post, addresses the Economic Club of New York at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, October 27, 2016, in New York City. Bezos discussed the future of Amazon, space travel, and his ownership of The Washington Post. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.)