WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Brands are surprisingly underrepresented in the sports-venue domain name space, a FairWinds Partners study found. In fact, more third parties own domain names combining a brand name plus one of eight selected sports terms – arena, center, classic, cup, field, park, stadium, tournament - than the corresponding brands do. This leaves brands open to trademark infringers, cybersquatters, and others who may have fair use claims.

  • 8 percent of the sports-related terms combined with Fortune 100 brand names are owned by the corresponding brand
  • 74 percent of the combined domain names are still available for registration
  • 17 percent are owned by an entity other than the corresponding brand

Read the whole study at FairWindsPartners.com.

Of the 10 Worldwide Olympic Partners, only one is using a "BrandOlympics.com" combination. Four Olympic sponsors don't even own their own BrandOlympics.com site.

Domain names combining Fortune 100 brands and the eight sports terms, as well as the "BrandOlympics.com" combination present clear opportunities for brands to hedge their bets on future sponsorships to promote their products.

"Venue or event sponsorship allows a brand to fit nicely into the social nature of their consumers' lives," said Josh Bourne, founding partner of FairWinds. "Sponsoring a physical venue is a surefire way for brands to create an inextricable link not only with an event, but with the memories that consumers will have and share with their social networks. That awesome basketball game you tweeted about from the Verizon Center? The picture of you and your college friends at Levi Stadium that you Instagrammed and shared on Facebook? They represent positive exposure for the brand behind the venue."

Brands considering sports arena or Olympic sponsorships would do well to lock down their domain names way in advance of a launch.

Consider the case of MetLife. As the Seattle Seahawks trounced the Denver Broncos on Super bowl Sunday, MetLife was reaping the game-day rewards of its sponsorship: TV exposure in shots of the stadium, tagged photos, countless press hits, and endless social media mentions. Leading up to game-day, the website metlifestadium.com was drawing tens of thousands of visitors a month looking for information, which means tens of thousands of visitors a month exposed to the MetLife brand.

Yvette Miller 

202.223.9252