In the nearly decade-long history of Worst Company In America, we’ve noticed that newcomers — especially those who make the bracket because they’re in the news a lot — either flame out in the early rounds (like Lululemon) or take the tournament by storm (like past winners EA and BP). This year’s out-of-nowhere surprise comes courtesy of the folks at SeaWorld, which swam to an easy win in its WCIA debut.
Going into this year’s tournament, WCIA prognosticators had predicted that Johnson & Johnson would be a solid contender for at least the quarterfinals, what with the revelations that its insistence on selling two similar-sounding, but very different, versions of child-targeted Tylenol, along with its industry-leading resistance to using a simple valve on kids’ medicine bottles, has been tied to multiple instances of acetaminophen poisoning and death. But they apparently underestimated the passion and size of SeaWorld’s detractor base, which has been fueled in no small part by the 2013 documentary Blackfish about the orca whale Tilikum who has been at SeaWorld’s Orlando park for more than 20 years, and who has been involved in the deaths of three people, leading a growing number of people to question the ethics and business practices of the company.
In Round Two, first-timer SeaWorld will face WCIA vet Ticketmaster, which has made the Final Four of the competition multiple times but has never done better than runner-up.
AT&T VS. MICROSOFT
We really thought this one would be closer, but apparently former WCIA powerhouse Microsoft just doesn’t engender the hatred it used to. AT&T, with its hands in wireless service, landlines, Internet access, and cable TV (and its baldfaced anti-consumer stances on issues of communications policy) clearly demonstrated that it needs to be taken seriously as a contender for the Golden Poo, with nearly 71% of the vote, a much better showing than industry foe Verizon had against eBay/PayPal in its Round One match.
Speaking of which, these two titans of terrible will get the chance to see who really is the worst in the wireless world when they face off in Round Two!
SEARS/KMART VS. CITI
No matter how badly a company does in the months leading up to the WCIA tournament, it’s always difficult to beat a big bank when bracket time rolls around. Just ask the one-two punch of Sears/Kmart. In spite of being a Voltron of two once-great companies barely able to stay relevant in retail, it crumbled at the feet of banking’s four-letter word, Citi, which earned 61% of the vote in Round One, sending Sears home with a $5 coupon that it can’t use.
Up next for Citi is a potential dark horse contender and another noob to the tournament — Monsanto. The agribusiness biggie handily handled Wells Fargo earlier in Round One.
There is only one match-up left for Round One: Facebook vs. DirecTV, which will kick off tomorrow morning!