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Naming Rights Pioneer Firm Folds

The Bonham Group - a Denver firm involved in naming rights negotiations - has closed down, a reflection not just of the recession but the current state of sponsorship in sports. Here's a clip from an interesting story in the Denver Business Journal:

The 20-year-old company was involved in about 137 discussions around the world involving naming rights on sports stadiums, such as the new, $321 million Consol Energy Center — still under construction — where the Pittsburgh Penguins expect to play their 2010-11 hockey season.

The 21-year naming rights deal between Consol Energy Inc. and the Pittsburgh Penguins was announced in December 2008.

“Dean Bonham is known as one of the forefathers of negotiating naming rights,” said Vic Gregovits, the senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Cleveland Indians.

Dean Bonham is not the first innovator/entrepreneur to have made and lost a fortune in history, but it's a shame to see it happen in real time.