As you may know, I’ve been writing a series about my experiences with the University of Phoenix Online. So far, I’ve written about my decision, the admissions process and course logistics. Before continuing with the rest of the series, I wanted to mention a recent development.
The University has purchased naming rights to the stadium in which the NFL‘s Arizona Cardinals play. Thus, the professional sports arena will be known as University of Phoenix Stadium. This is another good business move for the Apollo Group, the parent company of the University, but it doesn’t play well in real life. A stadium name like that implies the sports team that plays there is affiliated with the university. Apollo Stadium would have been a much better choice in my opinion, but it wouldn’t put forth the brand identity that the University wants to enhance. The University has more students than any other private school in the country, but does not have its own football team.
I don’t think this was a smart move, all things considered. The University of Phoenix is now paying $154 million over 20 years for something that just doesn’t sit quite right with a lot of people, although they will be hosting the Fiesta Bowl and the 2008 Super Bowl.
How’s the media taking the news? The jokes are flying. A letter to the editor of the Arizona Republic says, “The University of Phoenix has become synonymous with overpriced, mediocre education… The Arizona Cardinals provide an overpriced product that appears to be still struggling to rise to the level of mediocrity. It is indeed a delicious irony that these two corporations have mated.” There is more irony in the move as the Cardinals had played in a college stadium until the new one was built, and the new stadium is in Glendale, Arizona, not Phoenix.
The good news is that the football organization might be able to take the money earned from selling the naming rights and build a better team.