New stadium names that people never adjust to saying originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Reggie Jackson put it best when reacting to Tuesday night’s news that Staples Center will become Crypto.com Arena.
“I apologize ahead, I’ll still be calling it Staples,” the Clippers point guard said, via The Los Angeles Times.
The L.A. arena has gone by “Staples Center” since it opened in October 1999. After 22 years with its founding name, the venue will have its new name for the next 20 years as part of a record-breaking naming rights deal.
While the new name will officially take over on Christmas Day when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets, will the new name ever stick?
Based on Jackson and the internet’s reaction at large, it’s not looking promising.
While the Crypto.com Arena switch is historic, it is not the first name swap that has left people scratching their heads. People have since adjusted to some of these changes because of the number of years that have gone by, but it took a while for the new name to catch on. Others will just never sound right.
Here’s a look at more unusual stadium switches:
New York Giants and New York Jets: Giants Stadium → MetLife Stadium
When you take a step back, it was already unusual that Giants Stadium was shared between the Giants and Jets. However, when a name was announced for a new shared stadium in 2011, it still didn’t sit right.
Prior to the name announcement, the venue was commonly referred to as the “New Meadowlands,” which came from the area in which the complex is located. Once the new deal was announced, there was a strong push to use the MetLife Stadium name, while some fans just continued to refer to it as “The Meadowlands.”
Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys Stadium → AT&T Stadium
If the Cowboys were going to change the name of their stadium, why wouldn’t they just go with Jerry World?
Oh, right: money.
While owner Jerry Jones said at the time that it "is not the most in dollars that there has been for naming rights," the deal still reportedly was upwards of $15 million annually.
Since the name change, the venue has hosted a College Football National Championship and even a Rose Bowl, so it is stretching its functionality beyond the Cowboys, too.
Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins: Boston Garden → FleetCenter
When the Celtics and Bruins moved out of the OG Boston Garden, their new arena was originally going to be called the Shawmut Center after the Boston-based bank. However, after Shawmut Bank and Fleet Bank secretly merged, the latter absorbed the former and took the naming rights to the arena. The move happened so late in the process of construction that all of the seats in the new building had already been stamped with the Shawmut logo.
Despite the FleetCenter naming roller coaster, people in Boston did not have to live with the new title for long. The arena changed course within a decade to pay homage to the old Boston Garden. The building was renamed the TD Banknorth Garden on July 1, 2005, and was later given its current name, TD Garden, in 2009.
Portland Trail Blazers: Rose Garden Arena → Moda Center
The Rose Garden had some naming confusion in Portland already since the city is also home to the International Rose Test Garden. However, the old name for the Blazers’ arena was well-liked and paid homage to both Madison Square Garden and the Boston Garden.
The building got a new name in 2013 that caused a different kind of confusion. The Blazers sold their naming rights to Moda and were met with disapproval from fans and even local politicians. Mayor Charlie Hales called the move a “head-scratcher” and complimented the old name for its connection to the City of Roses.
Chicago White Sox: U.S. Cellular Field → Guaranteed Rate Field
“There can’t be a worse name than Guaranteed Rate Field. Can’t be.”
That was the headline for Rick Morrissey’s Chicago Sun Times column when the change was announced in August 2016. It might be a tad hyperbolic, but the sentiment is understandable.
The stadium was previously named U.S. Cellular Field, which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and commonly referred to as the “New Comiskey Park,” which is an homage to the White Sox’s old ballpark.
Detroit Red Wings/Detroit Pistons: Joe Louis Arena/The Palace of Auburn Hills → Little Caesars Arena
People in Detroit were not hot or ready when it came to the name for their new arena in 2016.
The Red Wings previously played at Joe Louis Arena for nearly 40 years. The old venue was named for the famous Detroit boxer, while the new building was named for cheap pizza. Little Caesars Arena wasn’t a tough name to adjust to, per se, but it is one people did not want to acknowledge.
The Detroit Pistons also moved into Little Caesars Arena when it opened in 2017, ending their 30-year run at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Denver Broncos: Mile High Stadium → Empower Field at Mile High
The Broncos moved out of Mile High Stadium in 2000 and into Invesco Field at Mile High, which became Sports Authority Field at Mile High and then its current Empower Field at Mile High. While the team has not played at the actual Mile High Stadium in 20 years, it has not gotten rid of its Mile High connection.
Fans and writers have not let it go, either. Many still refer to the venue as Mile High Stadium or even just Mile High.
This might be the template Los Angeles brass is hoping to follow: rake in money with a naming rights deal but have people still refer to the arena by its older, catchier name.
Miami Marlins: Marlins Park → loanDepot Park
Not a ton of things made sense about the Marlins’ new home when it opened in 2012. There was an eye-popping sculpture beyond the outfield wall, a fish tank for a backstop and some of the worst grass in the league despite the building having a retractable roof. Still, one thing was indisputable: Marlins Park was a sensible name.
The team has made a number of changes to the aforementioned features over the years, removing its aquatic display behind home plate and moving the home run sculpture to a plaza outside the stadium. While some of those changes went over well, the same cannot be said for its naming rights. The franchise sold its naming rights to loanDepot just before the start of the 2021 season, and it’s a transition that might take more than a year to grasp.