Saturday, August 20, 2011

Naming Rights for Sale

This is unrelated to baseball, but it is a sad New York sports story indeed: New Meadowlands Stadium, home of the NFL's Giants and Jets, will be renamed MetLife Stadium for the coming football season.

I know the money's big, but it's unfortunate that every team feels the need to sell stadium naming rights to corporations. This happens across all sports, of course, and it ruins the ambiance of the facility. Just before it was torn down, Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium was renamed "Cinergy Field." Jacobs Field in Cleveland is now "Progressive Field." San Fransisco's Candlestick Park, while now back to its traditional name, was at points called "3Com Park" and "Monster Park," and the Giants' new gem of a park has gone through three names (Pacific Bell, SBC, AT&T) in its first 11 years. And don't even get me started on those places the Marlins and A's play.

They may have the assistance of Satan, but at the very least that team from the Bronx kept the name "Yankee Stadium" on their new ballpark. Washington also has a non-sellout name: Nationals Park. In Texas, they had a traditional name (The Ballpark in Arlington), went the corporate route (Ameriquest Field at Arlington), and eventually came around full circle with Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Now isn't that a much nicer name?

Not all corporate names have to sound bad, however. Some can actually sound good. Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati is one that comes to mind, as is Busch Stadium in St. Louis and Miller Park in Milwaukee. Those parks' names can be said out loud and it isn't immediately clear that a corporation owns the naming rights.

The Mets, while guilty of not christening it "New Shea," lucked out, in a way. While our ballpark is named for banking titan Citigroup, at least "Citi Field" sounds like it could be non-corporate. Just be thankful we didn't suffer the fate of Minute Maid Park in Houston or Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. Note to all owners: juice companies do not make good stadium names. Let's just hope and pray in our lifetimes we'll never have to visit Apple and Eve Stadium.


1 comment:

  1. You're exactly right about this, but look on the bright side. At least the MLB and the NFL aren't like soccer with shirt sponsors. I think selling out your team's appearance on the field is a lot worse than selling your stadium's name.