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.

7 thoughts on “Cringe of the Day: Mandalay Bay Events Center Renamed Michelob Ultra Arena

  1. Linda

    I don’t think MB ever completely recovered from 1 October. The few times I’ve been there since, it was pretty quiet. Sad. 😥

    1. Alex

      I agree. I alao will not support any MGM properties.. PS.jimmy Murren knows thw real reason for yhis tragedy. I would quit and leave town like he did. .

  2. MC

    I don’t know if this was already the case, but this basically guarantees only Anheuser-Busch beers at the venue. And that sucks.

  3. Michael Alexakis

    Not a lot happens at that arena, I have been there once, I saw The Who and The Pretenders… Mandalay Bay is a reliable hotel, it never gets too smoky because of the high ceilings and end of the strip location, I have stayed there or the all suites version at least a dozen times. Hornbuckle used to be the General Manager of this property, we had contact with him, he is a nice patient person who dealt with my crazy stepdad like a professional. Naming rights to stadiums is just a thing, a modern thing, its better in the case of T Mobile when the brand name is the first name given, but I don’t begrudge MGM or the beer company…

    1. Jackson

      Yeah, this seems like a gripe in search of a problem.

      Anyone that gets bent out-of-shape about the name of a sports arena during a global pandemic might need to recalibrate their outrage meter.


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