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Naming Right or Wrong? Seattle Arena Gets New Moniker

Seattle’s new NHL franchise is set to hit the ice at the start of the 2021-22 season. We still don’t know what the team’s name will be (the latest word is that it may not be revealed until the fall), but now we at least know the new name for their arena.

Some quick background: The new Seattle team will be playing in an arena that opened in 1962. Over the years it has variously been known as the Washington State Pavilion (1962), the Washington State Coliseum (1962–64), the Seattle Center Coliseum (1964–1995), and the KeyArena (1995–2018; this name was an advertisement for a bank). It is now undergoing renovations in preparation for its NHL debut next fall.

It was announced yesterday that a Seattle-based corporation had purchased the naming rights to the building but will not be naming the facility after itself. Instead, the complex — which is also the once and future home to the WNBA’s Seattle Storm — will now be known as Climate Pledge Arena. The name refers to the goal of operating the arena to be carbon-neutral, zero-waste, and so on. Everything — including the Zambonis! — will run on electricity, not on fossil fuels. Food and beverage concessions will be sourced primarily from local farmers and producers. Even the ice surface will be produced from recaptured rainwater (which sounds like a Portlandia sketch, but hey, it rains a lot in Seattle, so why not?).

To my knowledge, there’s no American precedent for a company purchasing the naming rights to a sports venue and not putting its own name on the building. There’s a somewhat analogous situation in the NBA’s uniform advertising program, however: The Utah Jazz sold their jersey ad spot to the software company Qualtrics, but the Qualtrics name has never appeared on the team’s uniform. Instead, the Jazz wear a “5 for the Fight” patch, which refers to a Qualtrics-initiated fundraising program to find a cure for cancer. It is the NBA’s only charity-based ad patch.

Climate Pledge Arena isn’t quite the same thing, but it’s similar in at least two ways: The company paying for the rights isn’t using its own name, and the message is generally altruistic.

You may have noticed that I haven’t yet mentioned the Seattle-based company’s name. One reason for that is that I didn’t want to give them free promotion right off the bat. The other, more important reason is that the company is a huge monolith that’s assumed such a monstrously large footprint in contemporary life that it basically distorts everything it touches, so I wanted to present the basics of the situation before I identified the company. But you’ve probably already heard who it is: It’s Amazon.

If the company behind Climate Pledge Arena was, say, Qualtrics, or a company with a similarly low-ish profile, I think most people would count this situation as a win, or at least as a non-loss. Like, if you have to have naming rights, this seems like a better solution than, say, AT&T Park.

But because the company is Amazon, the situation feels more complex. Like many people, I have complicated feelings about Amazon. I do order things from them from time to time (I’m expecting a package from them today, in fact), but I often feel a bit dirty afterward. On the one hand, they offer tremendous convenience, generally reliable service, competitive pricing, and a lot more. On the other hand, they’ve put a lot of Mom-and-Pops out of business, they treat their workers like shit, they sometimes engage in dubious business practices, their CEO is wealthier than any human should ever be, and a lot more. Much like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple, Amazon’s role in modern society is undeniably useful but is also larger than I’m comfortable with. When their planned NYC headquarters didn’t work out, I was relieved.

The misgivings that some people have about Amazon — or, in some cases, the outright hatred for them — led to a lot of backlash after yesterday’s announcement about the arena. Much of it can be summed up by this tweet from journalist Ken Klippenstein, which was brought to my attention by our own Anthony Emerson:

That’s a good zinger. But I find it problematic on a few levels. For starters, who says Jeff Bezos isn’t funding climate action? (I honestly don’t know.) And even if he isn’t, that would mean on Wednesday he was doing nothing to help the climate crisis; as of Thursday, he started turning an old arena into a more enviro-friendly space, possibly setting a model for other arenas to do likewise, and he did it without putting his company’s name on the building. (In fact, the new name promotes and describes the arena itself more than most sports venue names do.)

Some people, perhaps including some folks who are reading this, may be saying, “Yeah, well, that’s the least he could do!” And maybe that’s true. But fixating on that aspect of this story seems like a textbook case of something I’ve long pushed back against here on Uni Watch: indicting the messenger instead of engaging with the message. I get that Bezos is no ordinary messenger, I also get that some people simply think he’s fundamentally evil, and I also-also get that it annoys some people that he and/or Amazon will get some sort of civic-goodwill windfall out of this. Still, I sure like Climate Pledge Arena — both the name and the operating plan — better than the previous name, which was an ad for a bank. And if this arena inspires similar sports facilities to do something similar, think of what a benefit that could be.

Would I like it even better if they just went back to calling it the Coliseum and made the place enviro-friendly anyway? Yeah, just like I’d prefer it if the Jazz had no patch instead of “5 for the Fight.” But both cases show a more enlightened approach toward an otherwise odious phenomenon. After the Jazz went with the charity patch, I was hoping other NBA teams would follow. That hasn’t happened, but we can hope other arenas and stadiums do something like what’s happened in Seattle. It would certainly be better than naming all the venues after airlines, banks, and tech firms.

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Too good for the Ticker: Marc “The Ballpark Hunter” Viquez has assembled four-and-a-half minutes’ worth of minor league team commercials from the 1980s and ’90s, and it’s pure gold. Fun stuff, and lots of very cool uniforms to boot. Don’t miss!

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LAST CALL for the latest design contest: Today is the final day to submit an entry for my latest Uni Watch design contest, which is to create a logo for teams or leagues to wear in acknowledgment of the current racial justice protests.

We’re probably going to see a lot of these logos/patches/etc. when American sports leagues resume (well, if they resume). What should they look like?

Full details over at InsideHook.

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ITEM! Another membership raffle: Reader Bill Emigh recently purchased two membership cards for himself, two for friends of his, and one for me to raffle off, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

This will be a one-day raffle, with no entry restrictions. To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Big thanks to Bill for sponsoring this one!

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: MLB’s new rules include a provision allowing pitchers to carry a wet rag in their pockets, which they can to use in lieu of licking their fingers. I imagine Nike is excited at the opportunity to add their logo to something else. Will the rags carry a maker’s mark? … Here’s an excellent article about how the Twins’ original mascots, Minnie and Paul, came to be (thanks to all who shared). … New Era is selling MLB caps with a golden maker’s mark and “100” in honor of their 100th anniversary (from Joel Mendelson). … The Brewers released a 50th-season logo for broadcaster Bob Uecker (from Chris Bravata). … Here’s a good look at Pittsburgh’s ballparks through the years (from Kary Klismet). … The Giants are the first MLB team to announce that they’ll let fans submit photos for faux-fan cardboard cutouts. … Meanwhile, the Astros say they want to have live crowds at their games. Good luck with that.

NFL News: This generic football jersey being auctioned on eBay has a Harley Davidson tag. Did Harley Davidson have a sportswear division back in the ’40s? Or is it a different Harley Davidson than the motorcycle company? (Great find from Brad Eenhuis.) … Matt Vitelli found a 1962 Eagles pocket schedule in a 1960 Italian For Beginners book given to him by his father. A double dose of neato. … Panthers coach Matt Rhule is considering taking a knee with his players during the national anthem.

College Football News: Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State coach Mike Leach have joined the growing number of athletes and coaches calling for the Mississippi state legislature to remove the Confederate battle flag from the canton of the state flag (thanks, Paul).

Hockey News: Reader Kevin Vautour sends along this pic of Bruins players and a Canadiens player after a 1935-36 season game. What makes this uni-notable is that the Habs player — Kevin believes it’s Johnny “Black Cat” Gagnon — appears to have an upside-down jersey crest.

Hoops News: Dikembe Mutombo played in the 2015 NBA Africa Game with the flags of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the USA beneath his uni number (from @GoatJerseys, Carlos González-Mariche and Gabriel Hurl). … Here are the numbers for UVA men’s new players (thanks, Jamie). … Grafton (WVa.) High is getting a new basketball floor (from Kary Klismet).

Soccer News: The NWSL’s Washington Spirit have unveiled their new home kit. More pics here (from Ryan Ramirez, Oleg Kvasha, Andrew Tanker and our own Jamie Rathjen). … Also from Jamie: Another NWSL kit launch, with Sky Blue FC unveiling their new home kit. … A Colorado Rapids blog has a pretty great post on the team’s kit history (from Kary Klismet). … Salvadoran giants Club Deportivo FAS are holding a Twitter poll to find the most popular crest in club history (from Ed Żelaski). … New logo for the Cape Verde national team (from Andrew Voodoo). … With Liverpool winning the Premier League championship yesterday, it’s the first time a team with a red shirt has won the title since 2013. … New away shirt for Scottish side Kilmarnock (from Ed Zelaski). … New primary and secondary shirts for the NWSL’s OL Reign (thanks, Jamie).

Grab Bag: Sports Illustrated has a fascinating article about the downfall of the handshake in pro sports. … In the Australian Football League, Essendon and Collingwood will wear their Anzac Day guernseys when they meet next week. The two clubs always play on Anzac Day, which is April 25, but couldn’t this year due to the pandemic (thanks, Jamie). … Loudoun County (Va.) High is thinking about nixing its “Raiders” nickname due to associations with the Confederacy (from Kevin Tepley). … On a similar note, alumni of Holrick High in Racine, Wis., are petitioning to change the school’s “Rebels” team name (from Kary Klismet). … Google Photos has a new logo, in addition to a redesigned app (thanks, Brinke). … The U.S. Army will no longer allow “DA Photos” to be included in applications for officer promotions in an effort to eliminate unconscious bias. DA Photos are 3/4-length pics of the candidate in full dress blue uniform (from Timmy Donahue). … Also from Timmy: Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island has signed an executive order dropping “and Providence Plantations” from the state’s official documents, though it remains part of the state’s official name.

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Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: A few minutes after I took yesterday’s photo, our neighbor Jason wandered over and chatted us up for a bit from the sidewalk. He’s an eccentric cat, and I always enjoy his visits. I never really knew him before the pandemic (Mary did slightly), but now he’s become a semi-regular presence during our porch sessions, plus we’ve sometimes gone over and chatted from the sidewalk when we’ve seen him on his own porch. I’m fairly certain we’ll be good friends when things get back to normal, which is one of the nicer developments from this whole episode.

The branch is still there.

You can see the full set of Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos — now more than 100 of them — here.

Have a great weekend, enjoy Phil’s weekend content, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. I have some good stuff planned for next week! — Paul

63 comments to Naming Right or Wrong? Seattle Arena Gets New Moniker

  • sandy | June 26, 2020 at 8:23 am |

    just call it the “The Big Lie Arena”………

    Electricity is not green!

    Especially with the ice making & air conditioning required to run a modern NHL arena…

    …all likely for a team that will never put wood to rubber anyways…..

    • The Legend of Vincent Tremblay | June 26, 2020 at 10:34 am |

      Seattle’s electricity sources are like 85-90% hydro and zero coal, but OK.

      • sandy | June 27, 2020 at 9:26 am |

        and keep telling yourself that while you type that on your cell phone that’s responsible for the worst toxic mess on our planet…Bhatou China….

    • sandman | June 27, 2020 at 9:24 am |

      Hydro’s green eh?

      Tell that to millions of displaced people, millions of acres of flooded farmlands, and a decimated wild salmon population to name a few….but ok….

      never mind the damage wind farns are doing….uuugh, nothing I can’t stand more than ignorant mud people….

  • Doug | June 26, 2020 at 8:46 am |

    It entirely the same, but the sponsorless 2007 Honda F1 car spotted a livery that was just a map of the earth, for the purposes of “raising environmental awareness”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_RA107

    In reality, the fact that the car was dog slow and couldn’t raise any sponsorship money definitely influenced this decision

    In 2008, in their last season on F1, Honda modified the livery to include the logo of something called “earthdreams”. This was apparently a foundation designed to promote positive environmental projects

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_RA108

    Footnote: the team scored a pathetic 6 points in 2007 and 14 in 2008, appalling for a manufacturer-sponsored team. Honda sold the team for £1 to Ross Brawn in 2009 and that team went on to win both the manufacturer’s championship as well as the driver’s championship for Jenson Button, because Brawn is a wizard and came up with a barely-legal car design that no one had previously figured out.

    Brawn sold the team to Mercedes after the 2009 season for a reported £110 million.

    • Kek | June 26, 2020 at 11:38 am |

      Ross Brawn’s story is really only surpassed by the Silna brothers’ ABA television deal in the greatest sports fleecings of all time!

      • Doug | June 26, 2020 at 3:41 pm |

        In my decades as Formula 1 fan, the Brawn GP story is absolutely my favorite. So much went on that year. Richard Branson slapping the Virgin logo to the side of the car, every other team on the grid catching up by ripping off the double diffuser…

        i wish i hadn’t tapped out my original post on my phone and missed all of the typos, but Honda was the first thing i though of when i saw the Seattle arena name and i needed to send my comment before the day caught up with me

  • Michael H | June 26, 2020 at 8:56 am |

    Paul, I noticed in last couple porch posts that you’ve changed “Tugboat Captain” to “Mary.” Any reason for the change? And I apologize if you have addressed this already in the comments.

    • Paul Lukas | June 26, 2020 at 9:10 am |

      I’ve been going back and forth — nickname and real name — for a while now, depending on my mood. No real reason. Just a whim.

  • ThatRodneyGuy | June 26, 2020 at 9:06 am |

    Based on the embedded tweet, I believe Klippenstein is misspelled in the graf above the tweet.

    • Paul Lukas | June 26, 2020 at 9:10 am |

      Thanks, Rodney — fixed.

  • Graf Zeppelin | June 26, 2020 at 9:26 am |

    The Giants are the first MLB team to announce that they’ll let fans submit photos for faux-fan cardboard cutouts.

    Am I the only one who thinks this is just the dumbest fricking thing ever?

    • Paul Lukas | June 26, 2020 at 9:33 am |

      I disagree. The Ticker item immediately following, about the Astros planning to have live crowds in a state and city with spiking virus numbers, is significantly fricking dumber.

      • Graf Zeppelin | June 27, 2020 at 9:00 am |

        Touché.

    • Wafflebored | June 26, 2020 at 10:12 am |

      I prefer the Korean baseball team that played in front of stuffed animals. Finally a sports crowd I can relate to.

    • Tim | June 26, 2020 at 10:23 am |

      They now have an excuse to freely use all the fake crowd noise they’ve been pumping in for years.

  • Bernie | June 26, 2020 at 9:27 am |

    This is a good analysis of the situation. But I disagree that, in aesthetic terms, “Climate Pledge Arena” is anything approaching a good name. It’s has the same feel as “Guaranteed Rate Field”. It isn’t a *thing*. It’s abstract and intangible. I don’t think I could say it out loud without feeling ridiculous. It’s uncommon for unsponsored sports facilities two have two-word names (before “Stadium”, “Arena”, etc.), except when it’s the name of a place or a person. I feel like more thought could have been put into the name. My proposal: The Ice Cap.

    • Memal | June 26, 2020 at 9:44 am |

      “I don’t think I could say it out loud without feeling ridiculous.”
      I feel the same way. It doesn’t help it’s a mouth full to say too.

      • Tim | June 26, 2020 at 10:24 am |

        Let’s go to the Pledge….sigh

    • Parts | June 26, 2020 at 3:20 pm |

      I’ll still call it the key

  • TJB | June 26, 2020 at 9:33 am |

    I agree…one of my favourite things about this whole pandemic thing is the sense of community in my neighbourhood. So many more people out walking every evening, people sitting on their front porches, just as you and Mary. Friendly waves and “hello”‘s from all directions each afternoon as I walk my dog. I’m not a real social person, but these little acts of connecting with my neighbours mean something to me. It reminds me of the big power blackout of 2003 (for those living in the Northeast)…sadly, once the power came back on, it all ended and people retreated back to their living rooms. Perhaps the duration of this event will lead to different perspectives and routines for people. If not, I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts.

  • Jonathan Cain | June 26, 2020 at 9:37 am |

    “Will the rags carry a maker’s mark?”

    Hahaha, of course they will. And there will be a big press release about how the Nike rags will be 11% lighter and 2% more aerodynamic than traditional ones.

  • Bo | June 26, 2020 at 10:00 am |

    Denver South H.S. is also looking to change their name from “Rebels”.

    https://www.denverpost.com/2020/06/25/colorado-high-schools-face-problematic-nicknames/

    • walter | June 26, 2020 at 11:09 am |

      Columbine High in Littleton are the Rebels, too. I think they may be more attached to that identity, as they rallied around it after the 1999 school shooting. As I’ve repeated on these pages, a minuteman rebel is a less fraught image than a CSA rebel.

  • Rainbow Guts | June 26, 2020 at 10:07 am |

    Re: the minor-league video.

    Those Portland Beavers beach-blanket uniforms are everything!

    • RS Rogers | June 26, 2020 at 10:20 am |

      The Indianapolis Indians Expos uniforms are also the bomb. A mid-1980s Expos farm club would also have featured some amazing players wearing the pinwheel caps.

  • pboss3010 | June 26, 2020 at 10:25 am |

    The cynic in me says this will last about two years before “meeting its goals of raising awareness” and renamed Amazon Arena.

    • Paul Lukas | June 26, 2020 at 10:36 am |

      I thought “5 for the Fight” would be replaced by “Qualtrics” after one season. Currently on its third season.

      Obviously, that doesn’t mean the same thing will happen here. But life can surprise you sometimes.

    • Michael Lee | June 27, 2020 at 3:17 pm |

      Remember when Barcelona FC broke with tradition and became the last major team with a shirt ad in 2006? They gave UNICEF free shirt space. It was clearly a cynical ploy to phase in full on paid ads. I mean if you opposed putting UNICEF on the kit you are a monster who wants children to die. They replaced it a few years later with a paid ad from “Qatar Foundation” which was a charitable arm of the profitable Qatar Investment Authority. (Imagine if the Jazz wore a “Wal-Mart Foundation” patch, would anyone consider that a charity patch?) That was replaced by Qatar Airways, one of the same group’s commercial holdings. (these were also part of a propaganda campaign to improve the Qatar’s international standing). Now the shirt says Rakuten in a traditional jersey ad. I was surprised the entire NBA didn’t go this route.

  • Vintage Victor | June 26, 2020 at 10:48 am |

    Why does Bezos have more money than he should? He built the company, what is he supposed to do? Plus a lot of his wealth is tied to the company, it’s not like his chase atm receipt says 1 trillion dollars.

    It such bullshit that Amazon would get heat for this. There name is nowhere on the stadium, something you hate! If they kept it secret people like you would be demanding to know who the company was, so they can’t win.

    • Paul Lukas | June 26, 2020 at 10:50 am |

      Someone didn’t actually read today’s entry very closely.

    • Ryan M | June 26, 2020 at 2:18 pm |

      Yes, Bezos’ idea & implementation of Amazon gives him a reason to be wealthier than others. But consider that a good chunk of Amazon’s profitability comes from workers having somewhat crummy conditions–unpleasant working conditions, no breaks, it’s all been said before (and, no, other workers in the past having it worse doesn’t make it okay now).

      Also, not only have they aided in putting mom & pop out of business, but even no-name third parties attempting to make some money on Amazon get pushed out. They’ll take note of items that are selling well, come up with their own version and drastically undercut the competition’s price point because they can afford to, then increase prices again once the competition’s gone.

      The company’s net income in 2019 topped $11 billion–they could afford to give every employee (all 840,000 of them) a $10,000 raise, and still keep over $3 billion. That’s why it’s not radical or far-fetched to suggest that no one needs to be that wealthy.

      Yes, obviously he doesn’t have all that money in the bank. I don’t think we appreciate just how much it actually is. According to Google, his net worth is $163 billion. Let’s say I work for $40 / hour–that’s $1600 per week, or $83,200 per year, which would be pretty comfortable for most Americans. I’d have to work nearly 2 million years at that rate to sniff $160 billion.

      I apologize if my rant’s too political; I just don’t see how “entrepreneurial innovation” or whatever justifies having more money than anyone could objectively need for multiple lifetimes.

  • Kmm | June 26, 2020 at 11:09 am |

    @Paul et al, Climate Pledge refers to Amazon’s $2 billion pledge to make it’s entire operation (not just the arena) carbon neutral by 2040. Bezos made the announcement under pressure last year, but there is money backing it up.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/25/21303532/amazon-seattle-nhl-climate-pledge-arena-environment

    • ChrisH | June 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm |

      The naming rights deal is only for 10 years:

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/shlomosprung/2020/06/25/climate-pledge-arena-amazon-seattle-nhl-bezos-keyarena/#2b3d5eb6e024

      It’s conceivable that the arena will be called something else, Amazon-y or not, well before the pledge’s goals are met (if they can/will be met at all…time will tell).

    • Iain | June 26, 2020 at 4:08 pm |

      I think this is an important point. While Amazon is not putting their own name on the building, it is not designed as Bezos says “as a reminder of the urgent need for climate action.” It is a reminder of a specifically Amazon branded message.

      • Paul Lukas | June 26, 2020 at 4:27 pm |

        In the most literal sense of the term, it is not “Amazon-branded” — it contains zero Amazon branding. No Amazon name, no Amazon colors, no Amazon-associated design template, etc. If you look at that center-ice logo, nothing about it says “Amazon” and you’d never know it had anything to do with Amazon unless someone told you.

        It may be Amazon-*initiated,* but that’s different. Again, it’s much like “5 for the Fight,” which is a Qualtrics charity initiative, but there’s no way you’d know that from the 5/Fight logo.

        I’m not saying the source of the term is irrelevant — it’s not. But I don’t think it’s accurate to say it’s “Amazon-branded.”

  • jimmywags | June 26, 2020 at 11:12 am |

    Sporting KC’s home stadium, currently Children’s Mercy Park, was originally Livestrong Sporting Park. In that original naming-rights deal SKC paid Livestrong for the rights to the name, not the other way around.

    This is not the same as the Amazon / Climate Pledge Arena, but it’s certainly different than most naming rights contracts.

    https://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/the-full-90/article299628.html

    Of course, after Lance Armstrong’s cheating scandal, SKC dropped the association. Now the stadium is named for a local children’s hospital which is paying SKC for the rights. Which sounds like a terrible situation. Until reading more about it, I assumed Children’s Mercy was receiving money from SKC like Livestrong did. But, no.

    https://www.kansascity.com/sports/mls/sporting-kc/article45468786.html

    Pre-apology if those links are paywalled.

    • Paul Lukas | June 26, 2020 at 11:13 am |

      Interesting info, Jim — thanks!

    • RobYaz | June 26, 2020 at 2:08 pm |

      My eyesight is good but sometimes my brain tricks me into reading headlines not as they are but as they should be. In this case, I thought I read “Chicken Mercy Park.” Imagine the promotions they could have. “Lord Have Chicken Mercy On Me Mondays – One-dollar chicken sandwiches.”

  • Kst8cat | June 26, 2020 at 11:15 am |

    Not exactly the same, but in the same ballpark, but Sporting Kansas City has had charitable names for their stadium since its inception. First, it was Livestrong Park (until the ugliness) and now it is Children’s Mercy Park (local hospital). Both of the names raise money for the namesake. IIRC Sporting has never taken money for naming rights but instead gives money charitably.

  • Richard | June 26, 2020 at 11:16 am |

    I’m not a fan of the Climate Pledge name. I would prefer this type of thing stay apolitical. I like the old names such as Veterans Memorial Arena, Shea Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, Boston Garden, etc. It’s just more simple and reflects the area the stadium/arena sits in.

    I have a personal policy that if it’s a paid name, I just refer to the stadium/arena by the name of the team that plays there. For example, whatever they’re calling it in SF now, I just call it “Giants Ballpark” or “Diamondbacks Field” or I refer it to the old name like “Tigers Stadium.” That’s what I’ll do with Key Arena. By the way Paul, thanks for the education of Key Arena. I had no idea it was a bank and I rue myself for calling it Key Arena all these years!

    • RS Rogers | June 26, 2020 at 12:03 pm |

      “Veterans memorial” is political. It’s just that it’s a political statement you agree with, and therefore you don’t notice that it’s a political statement.

      But yeah, I too am more likely to call a stadium by its given name if it’s not a sponsored corporate name.

      • Richard | June 26, 2020 at 1:51 pm |

        I never viewed Veterans Memorial as political. It honors all people who served and sacrificed for this country. According to Wikipedia, it honors “the veterans of all wars.” If that’s political, then that’s news to me.

        • Lee | June 26, 2020 at 3:04 pm |

          I personally don’t consider climate concern to be political either. It affects all people who live and breathe in this country.
          As for wars, you don’t think they are politically motivated??

          Lee

      • Chris Weber | June 26, 2020 at 2:46 pm |

        What does serving in the military, and honoring those who have done so, have to do with politics?

    • Bernie | June 26, 2020 at 12:46 pm |

      What’s political about “Climate Pledge”? It’s a private corporation making an internal decision to mitigate an established issue.

      • Bernie | June 26, 2020 at 12:49 pm |

        Would it be political if it were “Cure Cancer Arena”?

        • iain | June 26, 2020 at 1:24 pm |

          the threat of cancer has been overblown by the left-wing media to destroy the economy

  • Kek | June 26, 2020 at 11:37 am |

    “New Era is selling MLB caps with a golden maker’s mark and “100” in honor of their 100th anniversary”

    Extra practice for those of us on Team Seam Ripper!

  • jacket18 | June 26, 2020 at 11:51 am |

    With the push to change the Mississippi flag, I’m surprised there’s not much talk of changing the Georgia flag as well. Georgia finally got rid of the confederate battle flag in 2003, but the current flag is just the National Flag of the Confederacy with the seal of the state of Georgia slapped on there.

    This Change.org petition has a good side-by-side photo, but seemingly not much support:
    https://www.change.org/p/change-georgia-s-confederate-style-state-flag

  • Justin Black | June 26, 2020 at 11:54 am |

    Here’s a good read about the proposed stadium that eventually became Three Rivers in Pittsburgh. At first they planned on building it OVER the river, then had plans for a KC Royals-like designed stadium before settling on ho hum 3R’s.

    https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/pittsburgh-pirates-jetsons-stadium-three-rivers-stadium-pnc-park-mlb-opening-day/1u606itwrchz31h5tvek6vzmnk

    • BurghFan | June 27, 2020 at 6:39 am |

      The drawing was made, but I don’t think that was ever a serious plan.

  • MRB | June 26, 2020 at 12:17 pm |

    I appreciate the non-reactionary take, Paul.

    One thing I’ve realized is that twitter generally transforms “Cool” into “Good” and “Uncool” into “Evil” – but this move “by Bezos” seems like a fundamental win. He could have done nothing and attracted no criticism; instead he does something and is criticized – frequently by people who’ve never done more than ‘Raise Awareness’ themselves – creates something like a reverse-perverse incentive. Glad to have voices that push back against that narrative.

  • Wade Heidt | June 26, 2020 at 12:30 pm |

    Look at that beautiful double green on the centre ice logo image for the new Seattle arena name. Wouldn’t that be a great colour scheme for the NHL team? I’d love that.

    Also, I would love it if they named the team the Seattle Breakers. Breakers would be a great name that works in a big 4 sports league. Name has history in Seattle hockey market. Though I think the decision-makers prefer not to consider this, what would be a great team nickname.

    • Wafflebored | June 26, 2020 at 12:35 pm |

      Double green would be great.

    • Patrick in MI | June 26, 2020 at 5:30 pm |

      That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the photo. Is it a teaser for team colors? Hmmm…

  • Brian | June 26, 2020 at 2:11 pm |

    RE: To my knowledge, there’s no American precedent for a company purchasing the naming rights to a sports venue and not putting its own name on the building.

    This is not 100% analogous, but when the Appleton Foxes (Low Class A) rebranded into the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, they also moved into a new ballpark.

    With the loss of “Appleton” in the team name, the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau bought the naming rights to the new stadium. It is “Fox Cities Stadium,” reflecting the common name for the region.

    It isn’t a big corporation, a la Amazon buying the rights. But it is a case of what some might consider a “greater good” effort. Of course, it is a tourism promotion effort by the VCB, but arguably a less offensive name than XYZ Bank Stadium.

    • Lee | June 26, 2020 at 3:18 pm |

      I don’t know the details of course, but why would a minor league baseball team (Low A no less), re-brand from their community name to a state name? Especially when there are already other baseball teams in the state?

      Lee

      • Brian | June 26, 2020 at 10:16 pm |

        Well, for one the team is no longer in Appleton. The new stadium is in the suburb of Grand Chute. I realize that doesn’t stop the New Jersey Giants and Jets, or formerly the Pontiac Lions, but that doesn’t mean the Grand Chute folks were keen to have Appleton’s name on the team still

        With no other minor league team in Green Bay, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, I think the team was trying to broaden its base. And it does draw from GB, etc.

  • Dan Pfeifer | June 26, 2020 at 2:50 pm |

    There’s an interesting subtext to today’s post: I think we’re becoming conditioned, in this age of “he who takes the most extreme position gets the attention/likes/retweets/clicks/etc.,” to expect that everything, to use Uni-Watch parlance, is either “good” or “stupid.”

    Thing is, though, while many may live in a digital world of 1s and 0s, and a lot of people may want to distill things down to black and white, good or bad, “that’s awesome” or “that sucks,” there are still a lot of complicated things out there that are analog, in the sense that they’re somewhere in the middle. There are things that fall into the realm of, “well, this has flaws, but it’s better than it could be.”

    I think there’s danger in distilling everything down to, “That’s good” or “that’s bad,” and in basis a large chunk of your decision on your perception of the person who pulled the strings, which may also be, “he’s good” or “he’s bad.” It implies people you’ve labeled as “bad” can never do anything good again, or, as I think is more of an issue nowadays, you may also decide certain people are infallible because you like them and you’re willing to let them be above the rules or law accordingly.

    Jeff Bezos is an odd cat. I actually did my high school senior advanced comp research paper on him all the way back in 2000. He’s one of those quirky leader types that thinks so far outside the box that when he’s got a great idea, it’s brilliant and world-changing, but when he’s a little off in his thinking, there’s potentially big trouble, especially now that he’s among the world’s richest men. On the one hand, he’s really concerned about human beings and where and how we’re going to live in the future. It’s not just the environment. He wants to invest heavily in space travel and see us colonize the moon or Mars or wherever. On the one hand, that’s kinda noble. On the other, to earn the billions that can do that, he’s creating a less-than-great environment for many of his employees at their distribution centers, not to mention the carbon footprint deliveries still create. It’s one of those blind spots that kinda makes you go ‘hmmm.’

    I’m reminded of the line from the movie “Swingers.” Not everyone is like the guy in the PG-13 movie everybody’s really hoping makes it happen, or is clearly the good guy or bad guy. A lot of folks are like the guy in the rated-R movie. The guy you’re not sure you like yet.

    Bezos is imperfect. He does some things wrong. He does some things right. His batting average is so-so. He hits some homers, he has some big swings and misses. At least he’s more consistent than some other people in power, ahem. But we probably, with him and everyone, should remember to evaluate their decisions independently of any past reputation. It’s easier with someone like him where you know there’s some good and bad. But that goes for just about everyone. No one’s infallible, and no one is inherently a bad guy, and even choices made by people with good reputations or bad reputations can have elements of good and elements of bad.

    The world is not clearly one way or another. We want it to be digital. It’s definitely more analog. It requires you to think about it. A lot of folks don’t want to do that and put everything into one of two nice, neat boxes. But things aren’t separated into two boxes like that. It’s usually more of a trough.

  • Ryan | June 26, 2020 at 3:05 pm |

    Paul- the Seattle arena is a physically new building. Only thing that remains is the roof. They managed to suspend it over an empty lot to build a new building under it.

  • Peter | June 26, 2020 at 3:09 pm |

    Climate pledge:
    The ozone-alternative lemon scented furniture polish

  • Jeremy Rosen | June 26, 2020 at 3:30 pm |

    I believe that big corporations have realized that in order to stop Democrats from trying to tax and regulate them, they need to appeal to Democrats in ways that don’t affect their pocketbook. That’s why you see the advertisements promoting social justice causes, and I don’t think this arena is any different. It’s insidious enough to make an oil company cEO blush.