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June 13, 2008

Say My Name!

Quickly—where do the Boston Celtics play their home games? No, it's not called the Boston Garden anymore. Don't know off the top of your head? Neither did we, until we heard that TD Bank CEO Ed Clark sent an email to ESPN's Bill Simmons asking that Simmons stop referring to TD Banknorth Garden as "Whatever The Hell The Garden Is Called"—except, of course, that he didn't.

Boston Garden

[Some Bank] Garden. Photo by Jeff Egnaczyk.

Gelf asked a TD spokeswoman about the email, and she responded by informing us that "Ed Clark, President & CEO of TD Bank Financial Group did not contact Bill Simmons regarding the naming rights to the TD Banknorth Garden." (Emphasis hers.)

Though we wish Simmons had made his joke more obviously a joke (it was plausible that Clark would email him), we can't blame him for being confused about the name. The Garden, which has seen a couple of name changes since its opening in 1995, is but one of many corporate-named sports venues, including such classics as Time Warner Cable Arena and PETCO Park.

We also wonder about the corporate benefits of naming rights. Has Progressive Field enabled the auto-insurance company to dominate the Cleveland market? Has the Wachovia Center led to a surge in new accounts in Philly? We can't be sure (if you've got the info, by all means, pass it along), but it seems unlikely that anybody would make a decision about a bank or a car-insurance company based upon the name of a stadium. Even the more plausible visibility argument seems dubious—if a company has enough cash to buy naming rights, they're probably already quite visible.

Regardless of corporate America's reasoning (or lack thereof), you'll be happy to know that you can go on mangling the name of your favorite team's stadium without fear of retribution, if a pissy email counts as retribution.

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- Sports
- posted on Jun 13, 08

no discussion of unfortunate stadium names is complete without a mention of Dolphin Stadium, formerly known as Pro Player Stadium from 1996 until 2005- even though Pro Player went bankrupt in 1999

- Sports
- posted on Jun 15, 08

Consider the plight of PSInet. They bought the rights M & T Bank Stadium (formerly Ravens Stadium) for $105.5 million in 1999 - and filed bankruptcy in 2002. Tech crash, much?

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