Arena and Stadium Names – Stupid As Ever

Is Every Arena Owner A Corporate Whore?

Looking at Rush’s upcoming concert tour of North America I noticed something interesting.  Take a look at this schedule:

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Washington, DC

Pittsburgh, PA

Indianapolis, IN

Chicago, IL

Detroit, MI

Columbus, OH

St. Louis, MO


Winnipeg, MB

Saskatoon, SK

Edmonton, AB

Bridgeport, CT

Philadelphia, PA

Toronto, ON

Toronto, ON

Montreal, QC

Newark, NJ

Brooklyn, NY

Boston, MA

Buffalo, NY

Cleveland, OH

Charlotte, NC

Atlanta, GA

Tampa, FL

Seattle, WA

San Jose, CA

Anaheim, CA

Los Angeles, CA

Las Vegas, NV

Phoenix, AZ

Dallas, TX

San Antonio, TX

Houston, TX

Verizon Wireless Arena

Jiffy Lube Live Amphitheater

CONSOL Energy Center

Bankers Life Fieldhouse

United Center

Palace of Auburn Hills

Nationwide Arena

Scottrade Center

Target Center

MTS Centre

Credit Union Centre

Rexall Place

Webster Bank Arena

Wells Fargo Center

Air Canada Centre

Air Canada Centre

Bell Centre

Prudential Center

Barclays Center

TD Garden

First Niagara Center

Quicken Loans Arena

Time Warner Cable Arena

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre


HP Pavilion

Honda Center

Gibson Amphitheatre

MGM Grand Garden Arena

US Airways Center

American Airlines Center

AT&T Center

Toyota Center

Out of 34 venues only one arena is not named after some corporation (The Palace in Michigan).

No arena except The Palace has the name of the city it is located in or attaches the local sports team to its name. Virtually every arena has sold its “naming rights.” Yes, arenas today still have unique names if you consider auto companies, airlines, tech companies, mega-banks and their ilk to be representative of the city.

If someone asked me where The Quicken Loans Arena, The Jiffy-Lube Live Amphitheater or The Honda Center was I’d be hard pressed to tell you. What do these corporate names say about the cities and the arenas they stuck their names on?

Up until the 1970’s most arenas and stadiums were clearly defined: The Boston Garden; Detroit Olympia; The Montreal Forum; Memorial Stadium in Baltimore; The Spectrum in Philadelphia; Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto; Buffalo Memorial Auditorium; Pittsburgh Civic Arena – and on and on it went for traditional names. The Buffalo Bills were one of the first to do a naming rights deal with Rich Stadium in 1972 and the practice picked up steam in the 1990’s to the point of obliterating almost all historic stadium and arena names. Corporate naming rights are now expected if a new facility opens up.

What we have is endemic of America as a whole – get every dollar you can. Letting the teams or cities who control the naming rights sell out to the highest bidder. Slap some temporary name on an arena or stadium for big money. How does this benefit the public who usually pays for the facility?

Now the thinking goes, get the money. Don’t remember past wars or our veterans by naming anything Veterans Coliseum, War Memorial Stadium or Soldiers Field.

Why keep the name Cobo Center in Detroit, who wants to honor a dead mayor?

Forget about William Shea who brought National League baseball back to New York in 1962 in the form of the Mets. Citifield is more appropriate for the cash starved Mets than Shea Stadium.

Ditch Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.  After all, sportswriter Murphy was only instrumental in getting the Chargers to play in San Diego and having a new stadium built so the Padres could come into existence. Qualcomm Stadium means so much more to San Diegans.

When someone mentions Madison Sqaure Garden, 99% of Americans know which city it is located in, even if it is no longer adjacent to Madison Square in New York City. For the few teams and cities that have kept the names of their arenas and stadiums,  time is growing short and Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Paul Brown Stadium’s days are numbered.

The teams and cities know where the money is: dumb corporations with their marketing research geniuses, who think paying millions of dollars a year will do anything to help their declining reputations. Enron Field anyone?

4 thoughts on “Arena and Stadium Names – Stupid As Ever

  1. cliff

    Contrast these with the great stadiums of the English Premier League:

    Old Trafford
    The Hawthornes
    Boleyn Ground
    Craven Cottage
    Stamford Bridge
    Carrow Road
    White Hart Lane
    The Dell
    Loftus Road

    and even The Baseball Ground (go Rams!).

    Yes, I know their uniforms make them look like NASCAR drivers. And there are also some stadiums that are quite corporate (Etihad, Emirates). But still …

  2. Eddie Spirito

    Even though I live in Southern California and don’t really care for either team, (in fact I hate one of them) Angel/Anaheim Stadium and Dodger Stadium have held off corporate sponsorships, except when the Angels’ venue became Edison International Field for a short period of time.

  3. Philip Weber

    Even though I am a Cowboys fan I loved the name ‘Candlestick Park’ in San Francisco. To our credit though both the Cowboys and the Rangers don’t currently have sponsored stadium names, which is kind of shocking at least for Jerry Jones.


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