Last year, Barclays PLC, the big British bank, reportedly paid $400 million as part of a deal with the New Jersey Nets in which the bank acquired naming rights for the team’s new arena in Brooklyn. But more interesting manifestations can be seen in the bucolic groves of academe, in which industrialists, financiers and corporations each year swap billions in cash for prestige. While the American brand may be tarnished in foreign policy (Iraq), financial management (subprime) and even basketball (the 2004 Olympics), “U.S. higher education still has a sterling international brand,” says Peter Frumkin, professor of public affairs at the University of Texas. “People love to have their names associated with leading research universities.”
What’s in a (Foreign) Name?