Saturday, October 21, 2006
New Nats Stadium & The Naming Rights
I am not a big fan of Corporate Names on Sports Facilities. Whether its FEDEX Field, M&T Bank Stadium or Verizon Center, never does a Stadium name push me toward that company's product. PETCO PARK in San Diego, I laughed to no end when I first heard about the Padres New Stadium. That's a tremendous amount of pet treats to sell, if you are going to make your sponsorship fee back on the naming rights. Really, deep down, DO THESE CORPORATIONS REALLY BELIEVE IT HELPS THEIR IMAGE AND BOTTOM DOLLAR?? Everyone I know, can't stand those corporate names.
How many times has Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami changed names? Candlestick Park in San Francisco? Even M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore was, at one time, PSINET.com Stadium. My favorite baseball park, that beautiful structure built in China Basin--at 24 Willie Mays Place, The Home Of The San Francisco Giants, started as PacBell Park, then SBC Park and now AT&T Park. Its ridiculous!!
Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Camden Yards, far more preferable to me. Those four ball parks evoke MEMORIES for me. Even Giants Stadium is better for me than that awful place in Landover, Maryland. Can you think of anything memorable from Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina? How about Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia?? or Wachovia Center, right across the street, that was First Union Center Originally. Its just plain STUPID!!
Dodger Stadium--Now if someone says that name to me, I could talk all night about Koufax's Perfect Game, Vin Scully, Tommy LaSorda--it goes on and on. Why do the Cleveland Browns, still call their new Stadium, Cleveland Browns Stadium? Because Ownership realized, in the long run, Fans--the people who mean the most, in the long run--will recall fondly, moments of watching their favorite team, in their own named stadium. Its a natural fit.
Yet, it concerns me to no end that The Lerner Group will go THE CORPORATE WAY and find a sponsor for 20 some odd years to put their name on the new stadium being built on South Capitol Street. I could live with Nats Parks, but I realize that is not going to happen. Going the corporate way, In a Just World, either Walgreens Drug Store, that uses the EXACT SAME CURLY "W" would sponsor the Field, or Wegmans Grocery Store, which uses a modified Curly "W". Then, We could all call it "CURLY W" Field, Park or Stadium.
If that doesn't work, there is only one other corporate choice for me. The Nats New Stadium is being built within spitting distance of the Washington Navy Yard. If the teenage, young adult clothier, Old Navy, really had a sense of spirit--they would be contacting the Lerner's RIGHT NOW, and signing on for "THE OLD NAVY YARD".
I could live with that name for the rest of my life. Perfect, in so many ways. The Corporate Sponsorship is put away to rest, still allowing a sense of history, and, at the same time, The Nationals are able to incorporate the military, a staple of life for all of us in THE NATION'S CAPITAL!! The fit is so perfect, I just can't image someone involved with the Nats and Old Navy not already talking about this marriage.
We certainty can't have the Federal Government sponsoring the New Park. Then, during every changeover in administrations, someone would want to change the Parks Name for some Great Republican or Democrat. Of course, we all know, the Republicans would, right away, call the stadium--Ronald Reagan Field. It would be about the 1,000th building named after the Former President. There never seems to be enough things for Republicans to rename after "THE GIPPER".
Curly "W" Field or Old Navy Yard--what could be better?