Staples Center is now Arena.

I saw this tweet recently and it reminded me of a curiosity I’ve had for ages. Why do companies pay money to put their names on stadiums? Is it to remind us they exist? Do they hope for some goodwill between going to see basketball and buying office supplies (and now Crypto?)

The current home of the Washington Capitals and Washington Bullets/Wizards has changed names a number of times since I’ve lived here. Throughout it’s life, this building has been called:

  • MCI Center
  • Verizon Center
  • Capital One Arena

Have I ever associated the venue with any of these companies? No. Have I ever thought about the company names when I was there? Absolutely not. When I hear other venues and their names, even when it’s a well known and obvious one (Fed Ex Field?) I never associate it with the company behind the name.

Other than changing names on signage, I wonder how many years it takes for people to start calling the venue by its new name. Jiffy Lube Live used to be called Nissan Pavilion. I called it Nissan for years after the name change and still catch myself referring to the MCI Center. Did I ever think about cars when I went to concerts? No, other than the one I used to drive there.

In my head, the name of a place is completely divorced from the company paying to name it. Other than hilariously stupid or weird names (Jiffy Lube Live!)

And I’m sorry, “Anything Dot Com” Arena/Center is a terrible name.