Would New Bidet Sponsor Make Bills Stadium the Butt of All Jokes?
16 Jul, 2020By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Admit it. You’ve heard way too much COVID news and you can’t escape to social media because of the political infighting. So here’s exactly what you need to know today: TUSHY, the luxury bidet company, has launched a bid to be the title sponsor of the Buffalo Bills’ stadium in Orchard Park, New York, since current sponsor New Era pulled out of its own naming-rights deal with the team.
The waters (and the rumors) started swirling on Thursday of last week when TUSHY announced, with great fanfare, a bid of up to $12,500,000 for the naming rights to the stadium, with the intention of naming it “TUSHY Stadium.” (Lest you think this is a joke, the actual bid document can be found here). But are they flush with cash, or is this just a publicity grab?
It took exactly notimeatall (say it that fast) for everyone to jump on the toilet humor bandwagon. The New York Post noted, “Buffalo Bills fans have complained for years that their stadium looks like crap — and now, it might get a toilet-themed name to match.”
Of course, pundits were quick to note, TUSHY’s offer may not hold water since, as Money Watch pointed out, “it is unclear how many years TUSHY’s offer is for, but it seems unlikely the bid will do more than circle the drain.”
(Side note: ba-dum-bum-tss!) But returning to Money Watch’s analysis, “Buffalo’s New Era deal — which totaled about three times Tushy’s bid — was one of the cheapest in the NFL, according to a report by SportsProMedia. Stadium naming rights generally seek long-term contracts for significantly more money, from companies significantly more flush (heh) with cash.
The stadium is actually one of the NFL’s oldest, built in 1973, and it shows its age. New Era has held the naming rights since 2016.
Whatever the name, the stadium doesn’t have the best reputation — the top result of a quick Google search was a TripAdvisor review from 2013 headlined “It’s a dump!” and The Sporting News in 2019 ranked it 27th of the NFL’s 31 stadiums.
And TUSHY, apparently, would not rest on its laurels (nor anything else) in the NFL; the Post notes that the organization "seems determined make a splash" (the hits just keep on coming) in college competition as well: “Assuming the offer is accepted, TUSHY would like to work to bring a college football bowl game to Orchard Park and host the first ever Toilet Bowl,” the company said in a press release widely shared on Twitter.”
Also included in the deal are hundreds of portable toilets equipped with Tushy bidets for the Bills’ parking lot and tailgating areas. Of course, with the potential for NFL games to be played without fans and as a result, with tailgating replaced with “homegating” in order to maintain social distance, it’s likely all those bidets would simply sit around empty – something that would make for a total washout.
Of course, that could turn the waters in TUSHY’s favor. Sponsor offers are thin on the ground these days; in fact, global sports sponsorship rights fees have fallen from $46.1 million in 2019 to 28.7 million in 2020 – in huge part because of COVID-19.
But one industry sector that is going strong (and sponsoring sports, among other things) is cannabis brands. Which means the Bills stadium could be faced with the decision of hosting a cannabis bowl or a toilet bowl.
And in this case, there’s a precedent. FC Barcelona is looking to sell the naming rights to its Nou Camp stadium for the first time in the team’s history, and the team will donate all the revenue to coronavirus relief efforts. According to The Sun in the United Kingdom, “Mike Tyson’s cannabis business partner Alki David is reportedly in the mix to land the deal.”
Which means the stadium in New York could be number two.