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Will Nationals cash in on playoff appearance?

Nationals Park

With the team’s first appearance in the playoffs, experts say the Washington Nationals may be able to cash in with a naming-rights deal for Nationals Park.

The Nationals can sell naming rights to the ballpark, but so far a deal has proven to be elusive. In some ways a deal has been a victim of the recession — when the ballpark opened, no one was making any big deals — and we’re not entirely sure it has been a big priority for the front office, either: Keeping the Nationals name is a powerful branding tool.

With the Nationals in the playoffs and poised to play on a national stage for the next few years (the core of the team is young and should be in Nats uniforms for the next three or four seasons), the team’s profile can only go up. And if the economy is indeed on the mend, that meas corporations should have more cash to devote to big-buck marketing efforts like a ballpark naming.

“The business I am in is all about eyeballs, and it’s all about the heads those eyeballs are in,” Dean Bonham, CEO of the French sports marketing firm Bonham/Willis & Associates, told the Washington Business Journal. “Any time you can grab the attention of not only your local market, but the rest of the country, and do it without having to spend additional advertising, promotional and marketing dollars, it’s a huge step up.”

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