Congratulations to the New York Giants and--hell-- even the Jets. Their new state-of-the-art $1.6 billion megastructure will host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. I am trying not to let my mind dwell on the possibility of a Subway Bowl, what with the Jets and their crippling inability to play winning football and all. But the attention that 'New Meadowlands Stadium' is receiving this week does have my mind dwelling on the sad realization that we are going to have to rename what should clearly be New 'Giants Stadium'--a name that for decades has been synonymous with greatness. 3 Super Bowl rings, 4 NFC Championships, I wish I knew how many NFC East titles, but they don't even make numbers that high.
If it ain't broke why fix it, right? But noooo...because of a few whiny malcontents from Jersey and Long Island-commonly referred to as Jets fans--we need to come up with a more communal name for the new digs. 'New Meadowlands' can only stick around for so long because it calls attention to the fact that they actually play in a New Jersey swamp. That's not good for anybody. And you can guarantee that the promotional onslaught that surrounds this mega-event will be touting New York and not East Rutherford as the host city. Clearly the stadium needs to be associated with the Greatest City on Earth and not reclaimed wasteland.
Like anyone with common decency, I abhor corporate naming rights. The sad fact though is that some friendly, local neighborhood multinational conglomerate is gonna pay hundreds of millions of dollars to get their name on the Meadowlands marquee. New York has been admirably vigilant about letting corporate sponsors take over the names of its sporting shrines. Even the Mets, the most classless of New York sports franchises, sold out to a company with a name so discrete that it sounds just like a generic term for a metropolis. That was a decent compromise, if one has to be made.
In that same vane I would propose Empire Blue as a fitting corporate entity to lend their name--and by lend their name I mean pay a quarter of a billion dollars to use it. Empire Blue Stadium would connote the two most relevant qualities of the new location: the Empire State of New York and the Big Blue that owns it. Jets fans will no doubt have their panties in a bunch over this proposal and so as a distant second choice I propose jetBlue throw their hat into this swamp. Their name has the unique ability to bridge the titular divide that exists between the international Giants fanbase and the 30 or 40 so Jets supporters that inhabit the Tri-State Area. JetBlue also just finished their flagship hub at nearby JFK airport and so a strong marketing presence in the New York area makes sense.
But the practice of naming sports stadiums shouldn't make much sense from a national marketing standpoint. Maybe a few of the 'people' in New England are wicked psyched that Gillette owns the name of their NFL stadium, but you know what? Now I'll go buy a schick razor instead-and I only moderately hate the Patriots--they are the Giants' Super Bowl Bitch, after all. Many a crazed Laker fan out in California goes to the gas station directly across the street from the ARCO just so they are not supporting the company that owns the rights to where their rival Kings play.
Hey multi-national conglomerates, give naming rights a break! Here's a radically old-fashioned idea that we could try experimenting with again: let us actually name the stadiums after our heroes and legends and see how much more dignified it feels. But don't be sad...you'll still be able to plaster your mind-numbing pavlovian catchphrases on any square inch of space that is not on the field of play--and we know you will! Act now!