November 13th, 2007

You need a scorecard

By John Rolfe
Sports Illustrated

Take our arena naming rights quiz and see why

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. I’m waiting for the day when a national chain of funeral parlors buys into a ballpark so we get announcers intoning, “A beautiful day here at the Boneyard as Uggla steps into the box, and that means it’s time for the Grimsditch Funeral Homes Ridin’ The Pine contest. If Uggla is cuaght dead to rights on the basepaths, one lucky fan will win an all-expenses-paid send-off from America’s favorite undertaker. Get down with Grimsditch. They bury the competition, and grandma, too.”

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:

Actually, If you can answer more than five of these suckers correctly without looking them up, please seek consultation with a competent mental health professional.

1. Which name has NOT been used by the building the St. Louis Rams presently play in?

a. TWA Dome
b. Edward Jones Dome
c. The Dome at America’s Center
d. The Dome of The Rock (Prudential)

2. Which is NOT a proposed name for a stadium or arena presently under construction or in planning?

a. Cisco Field
b. Citi Field
c. Cialis Arena
d. Lucas Oil Stadium

3. What does the LP in LP Field stand for?

4. Where is LP Field and what pro team plays its home games there?

5. Who plays in the newly-named Sommet Center?

a. New Orleans Hornets
b. Nashville Predators
c. San Jose Sharks
d. Golden State Warriors

6. Which is NOT an actual arena or stadium?

a. Amway Arena
b. Quicken Loans Arena
c. Jobing.com Arena
d. Moskowitz Financial Services (MFS) Field

7. Match the arena sponsor with its product:

a. LP ... 1. gas
b. Sommet ... 2. insurance
c. Great American ... 3. technology
d. ARCO ... 4. building materials

8. Match the current arena with its former name:

a. HSBC Arena ... 1. Fleet Center
b. M&T Bank Stadium ... 2. Bank One Ballpark
c. TD Banknorth Garden ... 3. Marine Midland Arena
d. Chase Field ... 4. PSINet Stadium

9. Match the team with its arena:

a. Utah Jazz ... 1. Xcel Energy Center
b. Carolina Hurricanes ... 2. Energy Solutions Arena
c. San Antonio Spurs ... 3. RBC Center
d. Minnesota Wild ... 4. AT&T Center

10. Match the team with its stadium:

a. Baltimore Ravens ... 1. Bank of America Stadium
b. Pittsburgh Pirates ... 2. AT&T Park
c. Carolina Panthers ... 3. PNC Park
d. San Francisco Giants ... 4. M&T Bank Stadium

Bonus question: What are the nine current MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL arenas or stadiums named for the teams that play in them?

Answers:
1. d
2. c
3. Louisiana-Pacific
4. Nashville, Tennessee;the Titans
5. b
6. d
7. a-4, b-3, c-2, d-1
8. a.-3, b-4, c-1, d-2
9. a.-2, b-3, c-4, d-1
10. a-4, b-3, c-1, d-2

Bonus: Yankee Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Angel Stadium, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Dodger Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Giants Stadium, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Charlotte Bobcats Arena

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