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Remember the Days Before Naming Rights?

December 11, 2006 Media, St. Louis County 12 Comments

Maybe I’m more old fashioned than I thought.  I generally like new and progressive thinking but naming rights just has me upset.  Imagine if New York’s Empire State Building had gone through naming rights changes every 5-10 years?  No, I like my buildings to have a name literally etched in stone.  Locally we’ve seen the Kiel Center become the Savvis Center only to become, earlier this year, the Scottrade Center.  Riverport became UMB Bank Pavillion.  I’m sure you can think of others.
Today I read that the Rams’ athletic field in Earth City is being named for Russell Athletics, from the St. Louis Business Journal:

The St. Louis Rams said Friday that the organization signed a deal with Russell Athletic to permanently rename Rams Park, the team’s Earth City, Mo., training ground and media center complex, Russell Athletic Training Center, Home of the St. Louis Rams.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Russell President Doug Kelly said the five-year deal will cost in the seven figures. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

WTF?  In the first paragraph the writer says they are going to “permanently rename” the facility yet in the very next sentence notes it is a “five-year deal.”   Does five years now equal permanent in terms of building names? Given much of the quality of new construction maybe that is about right.
Of course we also have naming issues outside of special deals.  Why someone thought trying to call City Hospital the Georgian is beyond me.  Yes, City Hospital Condos maybe doesn’t look so elegant on the marketing literature but everyone knows the building as City Hospital.  Why mess with something that works?   Developers want to change the name of the Chemical Building downtown.  I’m sure you have more examples.

And finally, why aren’t corporate sponsors lining up to put their names on our increasing number of parking garages?  Maybe the Taylor family would like to have the ‘Enterprise Parking Garage at the Old Post Office’? Then the developers would have some more money so perhaps they could buy a nice bronze plaque commemorating the historic Century Building they razed.


Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. Matt B says:

    Well, with the Kodak Building downtown you had developers willing to use the name and signage of the original corporate name of the building and Kodak threatened to sue them.

    Now we have the Thraxton with a pretty ugly sign.

  2. JRE says:

    Actually, United Missouri Bank Bank (sic) Pavilion is changing its name now. From livenation:

    “Beginning in 2007, the current UMB Bank Pavilion will be renamed the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater St. Louis, and concert-goers will see and hear the difference.”

  3. the dude says:

    “I like the names of my buildings etched in stone” Well, they are not your buildings. Except maybe in some cases where there was a substantial public investment, these structures are someone’s property. This is America. They can name it whatever they want.

  4. maurice says:

    There you go again Steve! You have me agreeing with you. I can understand the need for a firm to sell some blank wall to make a few bucks (well, an obsence number of bucks), but why can’t they leave them alone after that? The dome downtown looks like just a giant billboard gone bad.

    I remember the checkerdome after the arena. I’m surprised they didn’t try to rename the stadium….Miller Light stadium?

    Oh well, this is a fight I don’t think any of us are going to win. Though it does make sendse for enterprise to put their name on parking lots, after all they do rent cars. gee, if they buy a name for a parking lot, do you think they would make it free parking?

  5. Josh says:

    I can’t wait for “The United States of Walt Disney” or “The United States of Newscorp”… you just wait! How else are we going to get rid of the Bush family (national) debt?!

  6. Annum says:

    2007: Year of Budweiser Select?

  7. steve smith says:

    I miss the good ol’ days of non corporate names like Wrigley Field. Not like today…wait a sec…

    I am not a fan of over-commercialization in much of anything, especially in sports. That is why I don’t have any beer posters or nick nacks cluttering up my house. I got one neon that faces out. That is it. But there is something to be said when the old Green Monster had all sorts of ads on it prior to 1947, unlike the relatively muted look today. Painted signs have a certain beauty, just look at the ghosted signs on the sides of many STL buildings. Again, we are still less commercial than our European counterparts in sport of soccer. Just look at the uniforms. Yuk. But the kids love them nonetheless. And you gotta love the kids, even if they are rooting for Panasonic soccer.

    I hope the Rams make a lot of money on who ever wants to give them money. I wish some sucker would give the city money for naming parking garages.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Yes, painted signs on buildings are interesting. There is something more appealing about an artist painting a sign on a building than simply some backlit plastic letters. Funny thing, painted advertising is pretty much banned in St. Louis yet it is being done out in New Town.

    And we are not going to get nice folks to give us money for their advertising if you (rightly) call them suckers. We need good people with millions to “invest” in our garages by covering the damn things up.]

  8. Jim Zavist says:

    In this case, just take the money and run – how else can you expect to the team’s multi-million dollar salaries? For playing a game?

  9. newsteve says:

    Whats in a name! Big dollars for some. Hell , these days people will sell space on there baldheads for the allmighty dollar – you are likely to even find advertising on some of your favorite blogs. The City Hospital will always be the city hospital, and the Chemical Building will always be the Chemical Building. Who cares what they call it – it certainly is better than it being torn down.

  10. LisaS says:

    Renaming buildings is annoying, true, but par for the course. Money wins the history, and it’s been that way for millenia. For example, the Catholic Church renamed the Pantheon “the Church of Mary and all the Martyr Saints” in the Middle Ages, and still refers to it as such. The rest of us use its original name, just like we do with Riverport … er, the UMB Bank Pavilion/whatever its current name is.

    What gets me is changing event names … my team will be playing in the Capitol One Bowl, formerly known as Citrus. A friend of mine bought tickets to the Champs Sports Bowl (formerly the Sunshine Classic and the Tangerine Bowl). And when the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is mentioned, I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets the mental picture of a gigantic red-and-yellow bowl full of corn chips, not football.

  11. Craig says:

    I heard that Raid wants to pay Larry Rice $750,000 to rename his building for the homeless on Locust the “Raid Roach Motel”.

  12. Lurker123 says:

    Hmm, “Patterson’s Privy” ??? “It does sing!”
    Also, road renaming is terrible also.


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