Posted Jun 3rd 2012 4:01PM
Here's the problem with selling corporate naming rights to sports facilities: When times are good and sponsors are interested, they're more than happy to make it rain. When priorities change, however, the money gets withdrawn and all that's left is that company's stupid logo, plastered all over the signage.
Not that we're specifically referring to Infineon, the German chipmaker that decided against renewing its sponsorship deal with the California track now known as Sonoma raceway (yes, small r). We're not sure why the powers that be at Infineon felt that defiling the name of this 2.5-mile road course would no longer be part of the corporate marketing plan, though we will admit that despite its having bought the naming rights to Sears Point Raceway a decade ago, we still had to look Infineon up on Wikipedia to recall exactly what business it was in.
The announcement that Infineon would cut ties with the track came in March, though track management told The San Francisco Chronicle that it had known for years that the contract would not be renewed. Infineon had its name officially retired on June 1, and while track officials have temporarily christened the course, they've said the "Sonoma" moniker is not likely to last. In a letter to fans, the track's general manager said they will "formally re-brand the facility before the end of this year, whether with a new company or otherwise, with a major announcement, new logo, promotion and merchandise."
Here's an idea: If you strike out on landing a new corporate sponsor, most racing fans still call it Sears Point.