In case I’ve never said it officially, I think stadium naming is one of the most infectious scourges of our modern capitalist society. It’s become commonplace and we’ve all but accepted that the only way for sports teams to raise capital is to go with private corporate backers. (it’s all due to the massive cuts in corporate taxes during the Reagan era, but let’s not get into that.) The point is, I hate stadium naming.
But I think that pretty much everyone will have to raise an eyebrow (at least) at the news that Allianz, a German insurance company with a dodgy history of working with the Nazi government, is interested in naming the New Meadowlands Stadium. It’s explained in more detail from this article in the New York Times.
To play devil’s advocate, most large German companies who were in business 60 years ago did some kind of business with the Nazi government, regardless of their own politics. I’m sure the board has moved on and the company is run by entirely modern and efficient German businessmen. But still. Defilly a WTF moment.
Naming rights to local stadia should go to local companies, with a historical affiliation with that particular city. Citibank will be the new corporate overlords for the Mets new stadium (Citi field), but it’s a NY-based company. Same with PacBell, Lincoln Financial, etc. Is a German insurance company really the only group interested in the new Jets/Giants stadium? And considering they’re talking about $25 Million for 30 years, that’s a bargain. Considering the crappy economy, I’m not surprised that a European company is now in the running. I assume the Chinese are not far behind. Maybe this is a better cause for a government bailout — buyback the naming rights of all professional stadiums for a share in the profit for public benefit.
If I were a stadium, I’d auction off my naming rights to corporations and wealthy individuals, with the stipulation that it must be named for a historic or important person. I wouldn’t mind a stadium called Horatio Seymour Field, he was, after all, a two-term governor of New York.
spotted on Gothamist »