Won't be long before not just the venues but the teams themselves will have corporate names. The Coca-Cola Falcons. The General Motors Tigers. The Nike Mariners. In smaller markets, the name might not be quite so recognizable. The Anchor Bar Bills, for example, named for the bar credited (or blamed, depending on your view) with inventing the now-ubiquitous Buffalo wing.
The edifices don't stop just at sports venues. The owner of an Atlanta mall is peddling its identity to potential corporate namers. At first blush, this wouldn't seem like a big deal. We're talking mall here, after all, not a church. But the daily paper splashed the story on its front page and referred to the mall - in the first paragraph, no less - as "venerable." I'm not sure I've ever been to a venerable mall. What, does it date back to medieval times? Has it been the site for important cultural events other than annual white sales?
Whatever the case, its owner is sensitive to the mall's prominence in Atlanta's civic life. "We will not do anything that's going to diminish the history and appeal of Lenox [Mall]," a spokesman told the newspaper. According to the paper, that means the owner won't "drop the Lenox name. Instead, the sponsor's name would be added on, much like corporate monikers to college football bowl games."
Now that's classy. Because we all know how much more respectful of heritage it is when a corporation adds its name to a bowl game rather than just give the bowl game its own name. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is much more tasteful than the galleryfurniture.com Bowl, don't you think? Me, I'm looking forward to when they start naming bowl games after TV programs: The Sopranos Cement Shoes Classic and The Simpsons Donut and Duff Beer Bowl and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire's Is That Your Final Answer Replay Challenge. Pretty soon, every building in America will have a business tie-in. E. & J. Gallo Wine St. Patrick's Cathedral. Apple Computer's Harvard University. Hallmark Cards Green Lawn Cemetery.