License (Plate) To Shill

At last count there were more than a million “personality” license plates affixed to Florida cars. And none more popular than the University of Florida (69,000), which shouldn’t surprise anyone, given the sheer numbers and strong allegiance of Gator Nation. And UF pocketed nearly $2.5 million from those sales.

Nor would it surprise anyone that plates pushing the protection of panthers, dolphins and sea turtles were also big sellers.

Such personality plates are extensions of the driver – a proud alum or an advocate for a cause – from wild life protection to school teachers support. And there’s some financial kickback as well. A classic win-win.

And it probably surprises no one that the most popular personality plate in the Tampa Bay area is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This, however, makes much less sense.

Professional sports franchises, their hard-core following notwithstanding, are still private businesses – not alma maters or society-benefiting causes. Shouldn’t they pay drivers for their high profile, highly mobile marketing sorties?

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