I was taken aback a little yesterday afternoon during the Steelers-Patriots game when CBS announced its partnership with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the construction of the first CBS Scene restaurant adjacent to Gillette Stadium.
The idea of television getting into the restaurant business is nothing new. ESPN and Fox Sports have restaurants located at multiple locations across the country. CBS has identified a potential market and is taking advantage.
What I don’t like is the perception, rightly or wrongly, that somehow CBS will be tied to the brand that is the New England Patriots. The images of Kraft and CBS President Les Moonves in Kraft’s luxury box was a bit troubling. There have been accusations in the media that CBS is pro-Patriots. The announcement of this venture will do nothing to quell those calls.
It would have been in the best interest of all parties involved for CBS to open up their restaurant in large cities as has been done by their media competitors. Even if there is no conflict, the perception will still exist.