Was that the perfect naming-rights storm or what? The deal to put the name of Tampa-based Academic Financial Services on the University of South Florida Sun Dome had no chance. The generic national scandal involving the student loan industry and higher education was beyond awful timing. And from the standpoint of AFS, the episode aired the company’s — and the founder’s — considerable dirty legal laundry, resulting in a public relations nightmare.
But USF, which would have realized about $2 million net on the ill-fated deal, still needs a Sun Dome sponsor, ideally one that is relevant to the college-student experience. Fortunately, that leaves Hooters, Budweiser, Trojan, Lou’s Tattoos, Apple i-Phone and Cliff’s Notes still in the hunt.