Want to get in on a hex? This one's a killer. It's ruined more companies than blonde receptionists and three-Stoli lunches combined.
All you have to do is repeat after me: "I, [your name], do hereby invoke the Oprah of all curses on all companies that for greedy profit slap their monikers on stadiums that used to be named for our heroes, our history and our cities. May they all go down the drain faster than New Coke."
I invoked the hex the day I heard that Oakland Coliseum had been changed to Network Associates Coliseum. Yes, the spleen-ripping, child-eating Raiders now play out of Network Associates. Al Davis: "Just associate, baby."
That, plus the awful truth that 1) the Baltimore Ravens play at a stadium called PSINet, which, I believe, is an extra-hold hair spray; 2) the Seattle Mariners play at Safeco Field, which is one in a chain of Mister Rogers-approved kids' playgrounds; 3) there are arenas or stadiums in this country named PNC, PGE, P&C, MCI, RCA and HSBC; 4) Louisville plays football at—I swear this is true—Papa John's Cardinal Stadium; and 5) three venues are named for Alltel and three for Pepsi.
I had no choice. I hexed the bejesus out of those companies. Using two strands of Marge Schott's chest hair, a gallon of French's mustard and an old Brian Bosworth quote read backward, I hexed their top brass and their bottom lines. I prayed they'd crash and burn faster than pogs.
The results were hexcellent! Twenty-three of the 51 companies that ponied up huge bucks to put their names on pro stadiums and arenas have lost at least one quarter of their stock price over the past year! PSINet has dropped 98%! The stock options for Qualcomm (the stadium in San Diego) and Conseco ( Indianapolis) are so far underwater, they're growing gills! Sawis ( St. Louis) is down 93%! CMGI ( New England Patriots) has fallen 97%, and the stadium hasn't even been built!
And it's not just me. People across the U.S. are rising up against corpo-name disease. In Denver a skinny restaurateur named John Hickenlooper heard that the new citizen-paid-for Mile High Stadium was going to become Invesco Field or some such cheesiness and thought, Hey, wait a minute! How much is the name Mile High Stadium worth to this city? How many people hear Al Michaels go, "Live, from Mile High Stadium..." and think, I'm going to live there, or I'm going to visit there? He commissioned a poll, which showed that most Denverites agreed with him. Then the mayor agreed. Then Hickenlooper helped pay for 50,000 signs, handed out at a Broncos game, that read MILE HIGH STADIUM: BEST NAME BY A MILE. Now, no corporation with half a focus group will touch it, lest it risk the Oprah of all boycotts.
So rise up, Chicago! The Bears want to hyphenate the newly renovated Soldier Field. Don't let them! Put it this way: Would you take your World War I veteran great-grandfather to Samsung-Soldier Field?
Rise up, Boston! Not only are the Red Sox going to abandon the greatest ballpark of all, Fenway, but they're talking about naming the new stadium Polaroid Park! Sounds like an amusement park for flashers!
Rise up, citizens of Canada and the U.S.! After all, do you really need nine North American sports venues named after airlines? Do you really want vapid, soul-sucking names that will change more often than a Madonna hairstyle? (The Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers played in the Spectrum, CoreStates Center and First Union Center in four years.) Don't your heroes ( Joe Louis, RFK, Connie Mack) and your favorite places (The Stick, Three Rivers, Market Square) mean more to you than a fourth vacation home for one more cigar-snipping marketing director?