Thursday, April 28, 2011

Forgettable Stadium Names

Yesterday the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was renamed the Overstock.com Coliseum. It might be possible to think of a worse name for a sports venue, but right now I can’t. However, it is in keeping with the recent trend of selling naming rights to the highest bidder. Some 20 of the current 31 NFL stadiums are named for corporations including the melodious and memorable Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Lucas Oil Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, LP Field, Qualcomm Field, Qwest Field, Sun Life Stadium [formerly LandShark Stadium], M & T Bank Stadium and Invesco Field at Mile High. Even some of the non-corporate names [Cowboys Stadium, Cleveland Browns Stadium and the Georgia Dome] are quite pedestrian.

It gets a little crazy at times as noted in this excerpt about the stadium in St. Louis from Wikipedia: “As part of a deal to sell the naming rights to Rams Park (now the Russell Athletic Training Center), the Rams' training facility in Earth City, Missouri, to sportswear manufacturer Russell Athletic, the Rams agreed to rename the Edward Jones Dome to Russell Athletic Field for the Rams' Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears on December 11, 2006. The renaming was for the one night only.”

And just look at the fate of some of the companies who at one time had stadiums named after them. The following went into bankruptcy, were acquired by another corporation or otherwise had to relinquish their naming rights: Pro Player, CMGi, PSINet, Alltel, McAfee, Network Associates, 3Com, Ericsson, and Trans World Airlines.

Contrast the above with the 20-team English Premier League, whose football [soccer] stadium names evoke historic, even regal images. Here are a few: Stamford Bridge, Craven Cottage, White Hart Lane, Old Trafford, St. James’ Park, Brittania Stadium, The Hawthorns, Molineux Stadium and my favorite, The Stadium of Light. Only three EPL stadiums are named after corporations.

I'm sure those living in Northern California can't wait to experience the nostalgia and atmosphere at the Overstock.com Coliseum. As for me, I'll take The Stadium of Light.

5 comments:

Barry said...

While the Stadium of Light may be a good one, you should know that it is a recently acquired name. Sunderland moved to this one from their previous home, Roker Park, in'97. The original Stadium of Light is in Portugal, and was made famous in this part of the world when Celtic, of Glasgow won the European Cup (now CL),in 1967. That stadium too is now demolished, but I actually played there in about '97/98 during an annual ATC tournament (my claim to fame).
A more interesting name of a stadium further down the leagus is Cold Blow Lane, where Milwall used to play!

Eldritch Palmer said...

Stamford Bridge is my favorite pick of the lot. It's named is shared with a battle in 1066 where Harold Godwinson, last Anglo-Saxon King of England, defeated the Norwegian king Harold Hardrada. A month later, Harold Godwinson would be killed at the Battle of Hastings by William the Conqueror.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Great comments, lads. I doubt the same degree of history will be associated with the Overstock.com Coliseum.

Kash said...

Although it's now known as Sportsdirect.com @ St James Park...

I've worked near Craven Cottage a fair bit and love the history.

Wiki: "The original 'Cottage' was built in 1780, by William Craven, the sixth Baron Craven and was located on the centre circle of the pitch. At the time, the surrounding areas were woods which made up part of Anne Boleyn's hunting grounds. Several other sports may have taken place here, such as lawn bowls, croquet and possibly a version of the Aztec game called 'tlachtli' (scoring a ball through a hoop using your hips). This game is thought to be a distant cousin of association football and is arguably one of the earliest codes of organised football".

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Kash, thanks for the background on Craven Cottage. I know the name has changed, but most of the Sky Sports announcers still call it St. James's Park.

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