“NATIONALS PARK” naming rights?

The rock wall behind home plate tells the world that this is NATIONALS PARK. This is new. For the first two years of the stadium the granite was plain and classy, and the identity of the stadium was indicated by the curly-W logo to the left of the granite.

This year the granite is festooned with the words NATIONALS PARK (all caps, all plain block letters). My initial reaction was that it looked clunky and stupid. But then I saw the logo behind the batter at the new Target Field on opening day of the Twins’ new ballpark. And I began to understand.

I would not be surprised if a naming-rights deal were struck with a sponsor this year. The letters behind the batter this year might be there to get us used to seeing a name there. Not that the Lerner family need any more revenue streams from the place or anything, but we’ve been hearing about the possibility of corporate naming rights for Nationals Park ever since it was built, and we’re now in year #3 of the ballpark.

This is, of course, pure speculation on my part; and I’m nobody, a mere fan who reads the news every day. Are the clunky letters on the granite wall merely a placeholder for Geico Park or something similar?

1 Response to ““NATIONALS PARK” naming rights?”

  • Alas, Dave, I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that this is the way of professional sports. I was listening to sports talk radio last night and heard reference to TD Garden (home of the Boston Celtics and Bruins). I’m guessing that is some sort of concession to tradition on the part of TD BankNorth, the naming rights holder. And of course, my Carolina Panthers play in Bank of America Stadium.

    Even some college teams play in corporately sponsored venues. The University of Louisville football Cardinals play in Papa John’s Stadium. If Kenan Stadium ever becomes a “your name here for 10 years” stadium, it will be a sad day. It has already happened at Wake Forest. Their football team now plays in BB&T stadium (formerly Groves Stadium).

    And therein lies the problem, in my opinion. Naming rights deals have a length of time associated with them. When the contract runs out, what are the chances that it will be renewed? The aforementioned Bank of America Stadium was originally Ericsson Stadium. Charlotte Motor Speedway became Lowe’s Motor Speedway for 10 years and reverted to Charlotte Motor Speedway this year. And who knows what BB&T Stadium will be next – perhaps Krispy Kreme Stadium? I can just hear the radio broadcast now . . . “The Doughnut is filled with spectators today.”

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