What a difference five years and a threat to move the 49ers can make.
San Francisco voters approved Proposition C Tuesday, allowing corporate naming rights to be sold for the 49ers' current football stadium, Candlestick Park. Voters had approved a Proposition H in 2004, banning the sale of the stadium's naming rights and permanently naming the place Candlestick Park.
Voters approved the measure to once again sell the naming rights to Candlestick Park by a measure of 58 to 42 percent.
Candlestick Park was named Monster Park from 2004 to 2008, and 3Com Park from 1995 to 2002.
But the move most likely makes little difference in keeping the 49ers in San Francisco. The team is planning to move to a yet-unbuilt new stadium in Santa Clara in 2014. The ability to sell naming rights on Candlestick Park will raise some cash, but probably not nearly enough to keep the York family from chasing their new dream home in the South Bay. San Francsco currently maintains and operates Candlestick Park.
After all, they'd be able to sell naming rights to a Santa Clara stadium as well. And that stadium would be nice and new, and those naming rights would be worth much more.
But the 49ers are still slated to play in San Francisco, at least through the next four-and-a-half seasons. So don't be surprised if at some point in the next few years, that stadium gets named Northwestern Mutual Fund Title and Trust Park.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks corporate naming of stadiums is the worst thing to happen to football since the invention of the Tennessee Titans logo.