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Ballpark Naming Rights Was Never A Good Idea

by Dan Schlossberg

February 2024

***

Note - This article appeared in Here's The Pitch, the newsletter for the IBWAA in January 2024 and is used with permission.

***

The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers had it right: they play in facilities named after their teams.


But not every ballclub is so thoughtful. In fact, some of the ballparks change their names more frequently than Elizabeth Taylor changed husbands.


Consider the poor Chicago White Sox, for example. Comiskey Park, named for the man who owned the team during the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, was replaced in 1991 with a new ballpark right across the street.


Its name? Comiskey Park II.


But that monicker didn’t survive the test of time — mainly because the Chisox, like every other team caught in the runaway salary spiral sparked by free agency, needed another revenue stream in order to meet payroll.


Hello, U.S. Cellular Field and later Guaranteed Rate Park — possibly the two worst ballpark nicknames in the history of corporate naming.


On the plus side, a few of the new names at least sound good. CitiField, the home of the New York Mets, avoids having the word Flushing — location of the park — anywhere near the title. And Great American Ballpark, actually named for Great American Insurance, sounds logical to the naked ear.


But oh, those others!


No major-league park has ever been named after a player, though several, such as Turner Field, Wrigley Field, and Comiskey, have been named after owners.


Same with the late, lamented Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia, Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Busch Stadium in St. Louis, and many more.


In a tribute to common sense, good planning, and quirks of fate, nine parks do not carry corporate names.


Here’s how the 30 existing ballpark names rate, from worst to best:


  1. Guaranteed Rate Park, Chicago — A name no better than U.S. Cellular Field.

  2. Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum (1966–1998, 2008–2011, 2016–2019, 2020, 2023–present), formerly called Network Associates Coliseum, McAfee Coliseum, Overstock.com Coliseum, Overstock.com Coliseum, O.co Coliseum, and Ring Central Coliseum. With that weighty history of bad names, it’s hard to blame the Oakland Athletics for skipping town.

  3. loanDepot Park, Miami — As bad a name as the team it hosts (Marlins)

  4. Minute Maid Park, Houston — Named for a breakfast drink or a quick cleaning woman?

  5. American Family Field, Milwaukee — Previous name of Miller Park was better

  6. Progressive Field, Cleveland — Is it a political thing or as bad a name as Guardians?

  7. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia — “The Vet” was a better name but not a better stadium

  8. Oracle Park, San Francisco — Even a true Oracle won’t predict much for the host Giants

  9. Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX — Host of 2024 All-Star Game, not to mention 2023 World Series, is tied for absurdity with previous Globe Life Park

  10. Comerica Park, Detroit — What is Comerica and why does it have tiger stripes?

  11. PNC Park, Pittsburgh — Beautiful, pedestrian-friendly park stuck with bad name

  12. Truist Park, Atlanta — The former Sun Trust Park should be Hank Aaron Stadium

  13. Petco Park, San Diego — Barking up the wrong tree

  14. Coors Field, Denver — Beer should be banned, not promoted

  15. Chase Field, Phoenix — Bank One Ballpark was no better as a ballpark monicker

  16. Angel Stadium, Anaheim — The Big A has had various names, most not good

  17. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City — Aptly called Royals Stadium for its first 20 years, it is now named for an owner nobody remembers

  18. Rogers Centre, Toronto — Originally called Skydome, no reason to change

  19. T-Mobile Park, Seattle — No wonder Mariners are only team with no pennants

  20. Tropicana Field, Tampa — At least Florida and orange juice are synonymous

  21. Target Field, Minneapolis — Short, sweet, easy to remember, but not good

  22. Fenway Park, Boston — History is on the side of this park named for nearby section of city

  23. Busch Stadium, St. Louis — This corporate nickname has lasted forever

  24. Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati — Reads well but doesn’t say who plays there

  25. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore — More than a mouthful, this name usually is shortened to just “Oriole Park” or “Camden Yards”

  26. CitiField, Flushing — Could be spelled “City Field,” it’s named for a bank

  27. Nationals Park, Washington — Feeling persists Nats still hope to sell naming rights

  28. Wrigley Field, Chicago — This North Side living history lesson is a bastion of tradition even though it carries the name of the chewing-gum magnates who once owned it

  29. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles — After lavishing $1 billion on Ohtani and Yamamoto, even the Dodgers might consider selling stadium naming rights, though the park is often called “Chavez Ravine” by fans

  30. Yankee Stadium, Bronx — The third iteration of The House That Ruth Built dates back to 1923 and stands the test of time well

26 תגובות


Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
15 בפבר׳

The problem I have with Corporate Sponsor names is that they are not permanent names, which makes it very much confusing. It's the fact that the naming rights sponsorship ends, is not renewed, and then the stadium's name is changed to ANOTHER name...and then ANOTHER name, and I will always find myself referring to a stadium by one of its many former names instead of its current name. Here in LA, I just CANNOT get used to calling the Staples Center by its new name, the Crypto.com Arena. And in Oakland, there have been so many different corporate names for that ballpark that I have no clue what its current name even is.

לייק
Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
17 בפבר׳
בתשובה לפוסט של

Absolutely. It's Sixth Avenue, the Pan Am Building, and the RCA Building. I think the only renamed feature that I use is the Jackie Robinson Parkway over the old name, Interboro Parkway.

לייק

etbkarate
15 בפבר׳

Teams have to sell everything they can to pay the ludicrous salaries. Can't say I blame them.

לייק
fuster
16 בפבר׳
בתשובה לפוסט של

an errant contention.


it's ludicrous to pretend that the players' salaries are the cause of the commercialism of the game


the salaries are a consequence

.....only this and nothing more


לייק

jjw49
15 בפבר׳

With all due respect to the writer..... really when I buy a ticket to see MLB the last thing I think about is the name of the stadium..... C'mon naming rights is Nothing Burger except for the money the teams receives.

לייק

Melfman1
Melfman1
15 בפבר׳

Regardless of the sometimes awful names, it seems like a pretty solid investment for some of these corporations. Some of them are paying as little as $2-3 million a year for the naming rights (high end is as much as $20 million annually). If you compare that to $7 million for a 30 second commercial spot on the Super Bowl, it seems like a steal. Yearlong advertising on a huge arena plus countless mentions in media broadcasts. I’m actually kind of shocked there aren’t more bidding wars for those rights. They should just try to be more creative…


Charmin Field at Flushing

Fanatics Field in Philadelphia

Purdue Park (home of the Orioles)

Zales Stadium (home of the Diamondbacks)

Hanes White…


לייק
Melfman1
Melfman1
16 בפבר׳
בתשובה לפוסט של

Didn’t know that, even better!

לייק

fuster
15 בפבר׳

when a beer baron buys a ball club

you end up with Busch-league stadium name

לייק
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