"The Enron Field Curse” was named by The Business Insider on January 18, 2012. When a company puts its name on a stadium, the theory has it, the company’s business fortunes take a turn for the worse. Enron declared bankruptcy on December 2, 2001, and was then the largest bankruptcy ever. Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, was called Enron Field from 2000-2002.
Chris Isidore of CNNMoney has called the same phenomenon the “stadium curse” and has tracked it since at least 2002-2003.
Wikipedia: Minute Maid Park
Minute Maid Park (also The Ballpark at Union Station, Enron Field, and Astros Field) is a ballpark in Downtown Houston, Texas, United States that opened in 2000 to house the Major League Baseball Houston Astros.
The ballpark was Houston’s first retractable-roofed stadium, protecting fans and athletes from Houston’s notoriously humid weather as did its predecessor, the Astrodome, but also allowing fans to enjoy outdoor baseball during favorable weather. The ballpark also features a grass field, compared to the Astrodome’s artificial AstroTurf, which was generally disliked by professional baseball players. The largest entrance to the park is inside what was once Houston’s Union Station, and the left-field side of the stadium features a train as homage to the site’s history. The train moves along a track on top of the length of the exterior wall beyond left field whenever an Astros player hits a home run, or when the Astros win a game. The engine’s tender, traditionally used to carry coal, is filled with giant oranges in tribute to Minute Maid’s most famous product, orange juice. The ballpark has 4,774 club seats and 63 luxury suites.
The Ballpark at Union Station (2000)
Enron Field (2000–2002)
Astros Field (February–July 2002)
Enron Corporation was an American energy, commodities, and services company based in Houston, Texas. Before its bankruptcy on December 2, 2001, Enron employed approximately 20,000 staff and was one of the world’s leading electricity, natural gas, communications, and pulp and paper companies, with claimed revenues of nearly $101 billion in 2000. Fortune named Enron “America’s Most Innovative Company” for six consecutive years. At the end of 2001, it was revealed that its reported financial condition was sustained substantially by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known as the “Enron scandal”. Enron has since become a popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption. The scandal also brought into question the accounting practices and activities of many corporations throughout the United States and was a factor in the creation of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002. The scandal also affected the wider business world by causing the dissolution of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm.
Stadium curse still haunts firms
Bankruptcies and plunging stock common among companies that put their names on stadiums, arenas.
February 3, 2003: 3:47 PM EST
A weekly column by Chris Isidore, CNN/Money Staff Writer
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Want to crash a stock? Maybe plunge the company itself into bankruptcy? Take it out to the ol’ ball game.
The stadium sponsorship curse was alive and kicking in 2002, and it was the sponsors’ shareholders who ended up with the bruises. The curse is a simple one: If you have the hubris to put your name on a major North American sports venue, you and your stockholders will pay.
When financial services firm Conseco Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection last month, it joined WorldCom, United Airlines (UAL: Research, Estimates), Adelphia Communications and US Airways as the victims of the curse last year alone.
After the collapse of Enron, PSINet, Trans World Airlines and National Car Rental parent ANC in 2001, that means that nine of 63 stadium sponsors, or 14 percent, have filed for bankruptcy in the last 19 months.
Bulls don’t kill stadium curse
Stocks of stadium sponsors are generally up this year, but that doesn’t mean the curse is gone.
August 1, 2003: 10:41 AM EDT
A weekly column by Chris Isidore, CNN/Money Senior Writer
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The bulls have not killed the stadium sponsor jinx, but they have kicked and bruised it a bit.
Readers of this column know, and are fond of, the bad luck and poor business performance that has befallen companies with the hubris to put their names on the sides of major sports stadiums and arenas across North America.
Between early 2001 and April of this year, 11 companies with their names on stadiums or arenas filed for bankruptcy court protections or had one of their divisions file for such protection. That’s equal to one out of every six companies that had such a rights deal and publicly-traded U.S. stock during that same period.
Field of Schemes
December 03, 2003
Stadium name curse watch
The stadium naming-rights curse may have struck again. This time it’s Invesco Funds, holders of a 20-year naming rights deal on the Denver Broncos’ Invesco Field at Mile High, that are being accused of shenanigans with their investors’ funds.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The Stadium Curse Lives
Over the years, many people involved in sports naming rights have come to believe that there is a curse associated with a corporation, particularly a publicly traded corporation, placing its name atop an arena or stadium. For years, the stock of those corporations significantly underperformed the overall market. In fact, there is a large list of once proud companies whose names formerly adorned arenas and stadiums across the country that now littered the junk bins of business history, having been tossed aside like so much corporate ballast.
26 Sep 2008 at 3:55 PM
Latest Member Of The Stadium Name Curse Club
By Bess Levin
The WaMu name on the 5,000-seat theater at Madison Square Garden is likely to change because of the seizure of Washington Mutual by federal regulators on Thursday.
The nation’s largest savings and loan — which came to symbolize the excesses of mortgage lending — was sold almost in its entirety to JPMorgan Chase for $1.9 billion.
There was no word on Friday if the Chase name — which is also on the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball stadium in Phoenix — will replace WaMu or if it will go without a name until another corporation makes a deal.
The Stadium Curse: Naming Deals Gone Bust
By Paul Toscano
Posted 20 Jan 2009
When a company spends millions to put their company name on a major stadium, controversy often follows as the value of such an expenditure is difficult to track. Major stadium naming deals have also seen another trend: corporate failures.
August 19, 2011, 10:28 AM ET
MetLife to Splash Name on Meadowlands Stadium; Time to Sell?
By Avi Salzman
The fortunes of companies that slap their names on the sides of stadiums often turn South. Remember good ole Enron Field in Houston? How about Citi Field in Queens? The paint had barely dried on those two stadium deals before the companies began to implode. In fact, Barron’s did an analysis about a decade ago (pre-Enron) that showed that naming a stadium tended to benefit corporate egos more than shareholders. Andrew Bary of Barron’s wrote that of 47 companies that had bought stadium naming rights, only 13 had beaten the S&P 500 after the stadiums opened.
THE ENRON FIELD CURSE: Why You Should Avoid Companies That Put Their Name On A Stadium
Gus Lubin and Simone Foxman | Jan. 18, 2012, 2:24 PM
There’s a well-known phenomenon that bad things happen to companies that put their name on a stadium.
The most notorious example was in 2000 when Enron bought the rights to Enron Field in a $100-million, 30-year deal. Just two years later, the defunct company would sell the contract back to the Houston Astros for $2.1 million.
The curse also famously struck TWA, PSINet, Fruit Of The Loom, CMGI Inc., Savvis Communications, 3 Com and Conseco.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Wednesday, January 18, 2012 • Permalink
I really do not think it is a curse. Perhaps it is just a marketing strategy that Enron put up for its investors and associates. Just my opinion though.