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The Pinkberry Coliseum?

June 29, 2008|Dave Zirin

Last week, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission announced that it would auction off the name of the Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans, to help raise money for renovations. Although selling naming rights for college football stadiums is rare, the names and logos of corporate sponsors adorn the vast majority of professional sports venues. Dodger Stadium is one of the few exceptions. But along with the millions of dollars can come name instability.

Here are some examples.

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Team:

San Francisco Giants

Previous home:

Candlestick Park

Current home:

AT&T Park

Naming rights price:

$50 million over 24 years

Name changes:

When the team moved to the new ballpark in 2000, it was known as Pacific Bell Park. In 2004, Pacific Bell's parent company, SBC, renamed it SBC Park. A year later, SBC merged with AT&T and the park's name changed again, to AT&T Park.

Team:

Houston Astros

Previous home:

Astrodome

Current home:

Minute Maid Park

Naming rights price:

More than $170 million over 28 years.

Name changes:

When the team played its first game in the new ballpark in 1999, it was named Enron Field. But the 2001 scandal surrounding the collapse of the energy corporation forced a name change, to Astros Field, in 2002. Later that year, the name was changed to Minute Maid Park.

Team:

Boston Celtics

Previous home:

Boston Garden

Current home:

TD Banknorth Garden

Naming rights price:

More than $100 million over 20 years

Name changes:

While under construction, the sports arena was named the Shawmut Center, but when it opened in 1995, it was rechristened FleetCenter, after Shawmut Bank merged with Fleet Bank. It assumed its current name in mid-2005.

Team:

Baltimore Ravens

Previous home:

Memorial Stadium

Current home:

M&T Bank Stadium

Naming rights price:

$75 million over 15 years

Name changes:

Originally Ravens Stadium at Camden Yards, the brand-new football stadium was renamed PSINet Stadium a year after it opened in 1998. When the dot-com bubble burst and PSINet filed for bankruptcy in 2002, it was renamed Ravens Stadium. M&T Bank bought the naming rights in 2003.

Team:

Washington Wizards

Previous home:

Capital Centre

Current home:

Verizon Center

Naming rights price:

$44 million over 15 years

Name changes:

The new home of the NBA basketball team opened in 1997 as the MCI Center. Caught up in the WorldCom bankruptcy scandal in 2002, MCI was bought out in 2006 by Verizon Communications, and the name was changed to Verizon Center. To local sports fans, the arena is called "the Phone Booth."

Team:

Arizona Cardinals

Previous home:

Sun Devil Stadium

Current home:

University of Phoenix Stadium

Naming rights price:

$154.5 million over 20 years

Name changes:

When the new stadium opened in August 2006, it was Cardinals Stadium, but a month later, the University of Phoenix, a for-profit university focusing on adult education, bought the naming rights.

- DAVE ZIRIN

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