Stanford Financial and sports sponsorships

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So the big financial news of the day is the announcement from the SEC that it has filed civil charges against Stanford Financial CEO R. Allen Stanford, claiming he defrauded customers involved in an $8 billion phony CD program.

Out of personal curiosity in the case, i navigated to Stanford’s Web site and came to learn that the company is a major sponsor in the sports world. Then I came acrosss this piece in BusinessWeek Saturday discussing Stanford’s involvement in sports. Among their sponsorships:

- LPGA’s Stanford Financial Tour Championship and the Stanford International Pro-Am,

- The PGA Tour’s Stanford/St. Jude Championship,

- WTA’s Sony Ericsson Open (a host sponsor)

- Stanford Championships, tennis’ Championship Series event in Memphis

- Michael Owen, a star English soccer player for Newcastle United.

- PGA Tour players Vijay Singh and David Toms

- The Stanford 20-20 Cricket Tournament, featuring all the best teams from the Caribbean. (Allen Stanford has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Antigua.) Update: Cricket officials from England and the West Indies have ended negotiations with Stanford following news that he was charged. The AP reports that “if Stanford’s funding for cricket ends, it would have a big impact on the game in the Caribbean and England.”

- Deal with Miami Heat for naming rights to main entrance of their arena

- Major corporate sponsor at Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets

There may be other sponsorships, I’m still looking. But that’s a substantial list already. We hope to get some reaction from groups like the LPGA and PGA Tour soon. It is fascinating to look at what they said about Stanford at the time.

“Stanford is a leader in their industry, and they have certainly demonstrated leadership as a sponsor in golf as well,” said LPGA Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens said in announcing the sponsorship last fall. “Their commitment to quality is evident in everything that they do. The LPGA Tour and its players are very proud to call Stanford our partner.”

Eek. You have to wonder if the tour feels the same way now, and whether it will drop Stanford as a sponsor. Stay tuned.

- Tim Lemke

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