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Cisco at Bat

6:00 PM -- Cisco and the Oakland Athletics today announced glorious plans to build the team a new stadium in Fremont, Calif., called Cisco Field. (See Cisco Helps Build Ballpark.)

Cisco will sell the A's 143 acres to build the stadium, and will have naming rights for 30 years. The deal will make Cisco a household name in all households of major league baseball fans, no doubt to the consternation of Brocade and Cisco's many networking competitors.

While we hate to rain on Cisco's parade, we can't help but point out executives from corprorations getting involved with pro-sports teams sometimes end up in the police blotter as well as the sports section. Exhibit A is Enron, which owned naming rights to the Houston Astros' stadium before mucking things up good.

Jock-sniffing tech execs have had their share of problems as well:

  • Bernie Ebbers, the ex-WorldCom chief doing 25 years in prison for accounting fraud, owned a minor league hockey team in Jackson, Miss. from 1999-2002. (See Bernie in the Big House.)
  • Sanjay Kumar, former CEO of Computer Associates recently sentenced to 12 years for accounting fraud, owned the NHL's New York Islanders with former CA cohort Charles Wang.
  • Greg Reyes, former Brocade CEO charged with fraud for improperly accounting for backdated stock options , is one of the owners of the NHL's San Jose Sharks. (See Reyes Charged With Fraud.)
  • McAfee, which owns naming rights to the NFL's Oakland Raiders stadium, is neck deep in stock options backdating scandal. (See McAfee Shakeup: Poor Timing.)

Nobody's saying John Chambers and Cisco execs will follow this crooked path. But for some reason, corporations doing business with sports teams always seem to get caught stealing.

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