Random AsidesSkepticism

Money Really Balances the Power

If we needed further proof that scamming people is where the money is, we need only take a look at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California, home of the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. Not that it’s surprising that Atlantic Richfield Company has made enough money to have a sports and special events arena named for it, but it might be a little surprising, if not disheartening for you regular Skepchick readers, to hear that ARCO Arena will soon be renamed Power Balance Pavilion.

That’s right. The fancy schmancy (supposedly magic) rubber bands that I’ve discussed here, and here, and that Rebecca followed up on here, have earned the Power Balance company enough money that it can now muscle out a company like ARCO for a highly visible marketing endeavor.ARCO Arena

Okay, so oil and gas has had its public relations troubles lately, and it appears that ARCO has simply opted out, but you still have to sell a hell of a lot of hologram-embedded bracelets designed to interact with the body’s natural energy flow to afford naming rights of a major sports arena, even in a small or mid-sized market.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but ARCO, which is ending a 25-year relationship with the organization, has been paying about $750,000 a year for the naming rights, according to the Sacramento Bee. So it’s conceivable that Power Balance will pay at least that much.

Now, you might be wondering how or if Power Balance LLC will keep playing in the big leagues now that everyone — including organizations within the sports industry — is debunking the new age garbage they claim for their power bands. The company itself recently admitted there is no credible scientific evidence behind claims that its products improve anything, except perhaps a kitschy outfit.

Well, not to be non-committal, but this could play out either way. Money buys a lot of privileges, and a shitload of money buys even more. So it’s possible that with an ever more negative light being shined on the bracelets, Power Balance could change the focus of its business to more conventional sports equipment. It already has name recognition, several star athletes on its payroll, and a viable infrastructure in place. The shift wouldn’t be too difficult. Power Balance is not such a bad name for a running shoe, is it?

On the other hand, there is precedent set for struggling/bankrupt companies swiftly losing naming rights to stadiums. Enron Field was home to the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball until the energy company had its highly publicized troubles. The stadium was renamed Minute Maid Park after one year, and no one has looked back.

For now though, we’ll have to wait and see if Power Balance makes it through the five-year contract it’s entered.  If nothing else, it might be cool, if they adorn the arena with enormous holograms.

Sacramento readers, keep us informed.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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16 Comments

  1. January 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm —

    Two things:

    It’s The Kings, is anyone going to notice?

    Beats Enron Field. Just saying.

  2. January 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm —

    For the first time ever, I’m ashamed to be from Sacramento.

  3. January 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm —

    Damn. If I were born without a conscience, I could be a millionaire….Or if I were one of those evil, consciousless, souless atheists…Wait, what? ;-)

  4. January 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm —

    Wow, the Kings now have an arena sponsor as effective as they are.

  5. January 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm —

    Does this mean Shaquille O’Neal, happy Power Balance customer, will play even BETTER if he visits Sacramento (barring his normal penchant for injuries at his advanced basketball age) in February?

  6. January 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm —

    Why can’t we go back to a simpler time when stadiums were given respectible names, like the Astrodome and County Stadium? Before the practice of naming parks after filthy corporations like that new-fangled Wrigley Field?

    So it is, so shall it ever be.

  7. January 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm —

    William Wrigley owned the team. Wrigley Field was named after the man, not the company.

    The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome here in Minneapolis was re-named “Mall of America Field” after the Twins left. I don’t know anyone who calls it that outside of the media. It’s still the Metrodome to everyone. Well, until the roof collapsed.

    People find a way to avoid new names, especially really dumb ones.

  8. January 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm —

    @scribe999:

    For all Power Balance users, it will be like being called back to the mother ship.

  9. January 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm —

    @James Fox: “Wow, the Kings now have an arena sponsor as effective as they are” – COTW! I anticipate the skeptic community is going to get a lot of mileage out of this one.

  10. January 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm —

    After trying to convince a friend that a month of data is not enough to show that fish and bird deaths are on the rise, I came here for some reason and logic.

    You failed me, Sam.

    (But I love you, anyway.)

  11. January 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm —

    NBA… that’s the game with the black & white ball that everyone bonks with their head or kicks? No wait, that doesn’t sound right…

    The one with sticks and the small white ball? No…

    The flying gold ball with wings? Played on brooms?

    More woo in sports, I’m so suprised… I mean, these are the activities that spawn “lucky shirt/hat/socks/jock strap/whatever.”

    :P

  12. January 12, 2011 at 6:10 pm —

    @Skulleigh

    It’s never a good thing to ascribe magic to a jock strap. They start to itch after only a couple of weeks without washing.

  13. January 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm —

    @mrmisconception: That’s part of the *MaGiC!* The itch mean’s it’s working!

    I’m sure that’s why it seems like baseball players scratch themselves constantly…

  14. January 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm —

    I really think the increased publicity will be a downfall for them. Plus, I saw a rip off power balance (called Power Boost) at the dollar store. Same rotten quality, but hey it has a hologram. Also they had one just for migrane treatment called Brain Boost. it looks like a really weird cheap plastic headband. With a hologram! When the dollar store sells it, it’s the beginning of the end.

  15. January 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm —

    @kittynh: Good to see you getting out and about!!

  16. January 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm —

    We recently had a big staff event with all our out-of-town employees and I noticed that one women I work pretty closely with was wearing a Power Balance bracelet.

    I was sorely tempted to say “you know, you can get a refund for that now…”

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