March 11th, 2008

Name Game's Prattish

By David Pratt
The Province (Canada)

Repeat after me: “I [your name] do hereby invoke the ‘Enron curse’ on all companies that slap their monikers on stadiums and arenas that used to be named for our history, our province and our city.”

May their beer be warm, their nachos cold and their PVR stuck on Leafs TV.

B.C. Place is about to get a new roof. What it does not need is a new name.

David Podmore, the chairman of PavCo, which owns B.C. Place, says the Crown corporation will pay for the roof through development of condominium towers on the property it owns at the corners of the stadium.

Nevertheless, the temptation to sell out can be overwhelming. In Chicago the Cubs and Wrigley Field are for sale.

As part of the deal the team is now willing to surrender the naming rights to the ballpark.

What’s the price of 92 years of history?

Experts expect those rights could be worth over $10 million a year, bringing the total value of the team and park to close to $700 million.

In January the Cleveland Indians sold the rights to Jacobs Field for $60 million over the next 16 years.

The Jake is dead! Long live Progressive Field!

Next year the New York Mets will move into their new stadium. Goodbye, Shea Stadium ... welcome to Citi Field.

The company agreed to pay the Mets $400 million over the next 20 years just for the naming rights. The Yankees will also move into their new home next year but it will remain Yankee Stadium. Instead, the team is selling sponsorship opportunities in the park for as much as $20 million a year.

That’s the approach the Boston Red Sox have taken.

This season Fenway Park has added 400 seats down the left field line now known as Coca-Cola Corner.

The company will have a sign 43 ft. long and 12 ft. high right next to the Green Monster.

It’s the same story in the NHL.

There are only three teams in the entire league that have not sold out the names of their arenas (Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, New York Islanders). The Vancouver Canucks tried to cash in when they opened their new arena in 1995 but seriously undervalued the property. General Motors landed the naming rights for a mere $844,000 a year until 2015.

The plague of corporate-name disease is so widespread the leagues could break down their teams into divisions.

The Money Division: TD Waterhouse Arena, TD Banknorth Garden, RBC Center, HSBC Arena, Wachovia Center, Bank One Ball Park and Bank of America Stadium.

The Airport Division: Air Canada Center, American Airlines Arena, Delta Center and the United Center.

The Eating and Drinking Division: Coors Field, Miller Park, Minute Maid Park, Tropicana Field, Pepsi Center and Heinz Field.

Rise up, British Columbians! Vow never to let another corporate name poison your lips.

If not, it’s guaranteed those cigar-smoking fat cats will have you watching the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Colonel Sanders Place.


Add your own Comment