You need a scorecard
Take our arena naming rights quiz and see why
Posted: Tuesday November 13, 2007 3:42PM; Updated: Wednesday November 14, 2007 10:18AM
Now that the New Jersey Devils are ensconced in their tony new digs in bucolic Newark, NJ -- never mind Barry Melrose's little crack about securing your valuables before venturing outside -- it's worth pondering just how long The Prudential Center will be with us. These days, stadiums and arenas vanish in the night, right along with your wallet.
Don't believe me? Then what has become of the frozen tundra of Alltel Stadium? The friendly confines of Ameriquest Field? The hallowed hardwood of Continental Airlines Arena? The frosty frisson of the Gaylord Entertainment Center? They were right here last year only to be replaced, if just in title, as the naming rights roulette wheel spins madly on.
All of these conglomerates that have been courting teams with big green bouquets in hope of gaining the right to plaster their names on buildings are, I assume, also hoping to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about their fine goods and services. But the names all seem the same after awhile, and said conglomerates can be victimized by the vicissitudes of business (see: Enron and its little field in Houston). So, what looks like an institution today is yesterday's circulars tomorrow. In 2004, Ameriquest Mortgage Co. bought the rights to The Ballpark in Arlington for 30 years at $75 million only to fall prey to such niceties as layoffs, lawsuits and branch closings, so the name was [blessedly] switched back to The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington this year.
Okay, I'm a calcified old fart who prefers sitting in a sporting environment named after a civic giant, icon athlete or even an egomaniacal team owner. Modern names like U.S. Cellular Field, Citizens Bank Park and General Motors Place are kind of sterile, if not confusing. There are two each named after American Airlines, FedEx and AT&T. And does The Pepsi Center conjure quite the same majesty and memories as Madison Square Garden or Lambeau Field?
Since ballparks and arenas become like home, it's nice to have one that has a handy nickname like The Jake -- or even The Cell if we must go the corporate route. The Prude in Newark is a bit unseemly, I suppose, but it works for me. Even more automatic advertising platforms with mind-numbing monikers are on the horizon as new palaces rise in New York, Oakland, and Washington, D.C. You need a scorecard to keep then all straight. Or maybe you don't. If you're one of the new breed of green cathedrals geeks, you should ace this little quiz, no sweat: