Naming Names

by on September 9, 2008 · 2 comments

in Veterans, War and Peace

The Big Red One - First Division, U.S. Army, insigniaThe announcement of a decision by the Department of Defense licensing the right to use the logo of the US Army’s 1st Division’s historic “Big Red One” insignia in a sportswear line at Sears is causing much dismay among veterans groups.

Online blog Politico has picked up on the story: “The U.S. Army launches an all-out fashion offensive,” reads the headline on A Sears corporate press release quotes an unnamed Army spokesman extolling the new line for melding the “Army’s timeless traditions with iconic styling.” And following the Republican convention, the fashion blog Haute Concept added this note: “Now gun-toting soccer moms like Sarah Palin [can] get all their fight gear with one stop!”

Selling off the naming rights to sports arenas, college buildings has become big business in recent years. The modern era of sporting venues naming rights dates back to 1953 when the Anheuser-Busch company was granted, after much negotiating, the right to re-name the St. Louis Cardinals’ playing field from Sportsman’s Park to Busch Stadium.

Since that time there has been a veritable explosion in the field of sponsorships.  Some of those deals have proved to be embarrassing for teams as corporate buyers flush with cash have proceeded into bankruptcy. Notable examples include: the MCI Center ( Washington DC ), Adelphia Coliseum ( Tennessee ), and Enron Field ( Houston ). Back in 2005, the facility that replaced the fabled Boston Gardens arena had a different name almost every day due to its owners putting daily naming rights up on EBay for sale: the arena was known for two days as Yankees Suck Center .

The concept of licensing logo/naming rights for fashion gear is a little newer but equally widespread.  Who hasn’t yearned for a set of the Paris Hilton hair extensions displayed in beauty supply store windows throughout the country?

Now it appears that government is getting into the game. Locally it has been suggested that selling off the naming rights to the proposed San Diego City building would be a good way of subsidizing the costs of construction. (Never mind that such a building would be about as useful as tits on a slab of bacon—tip of the hat to the City Beat for the reporting).

The possibilities are endless, and we’d like for readers of the OB Rag to put on their thinking caps and help us with suggestions in the comments column.  How about “Gitmo” jump suits to raise money for the Department of Defense? Or sleeping aid blindfolds for the Department of Justice, endorsed by Alberto Gonzales? Or perhaps the financially strapped UT could rename the paper “Dumb and Dumber 3” when the sequel to the movies comes out?

Let’s face it, with all the tax breaks for fat cats the republicans are promising and the bailouts for the last several rounds of deregulation that the taxpayers are about to shoulder, government needs the money.  Your suggestions, please….

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie September 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm

What about Wrigley Field? that certainly predated 1953.
Not to mention embarrassing moments when your corporate name-sake (QUALCOMM) is caught in fraudulent dealings and has to go to court.


Sebastian Ruiz September 11, 2008 at 11:47 am

What about CCDC and SEDC his and her pocket protectors?


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