Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

In Coney Island, the baseball stadium gains its third name in 20 years. A renamed arena at Atlantic and Flatbush would be a bigger deal.

Sports facility names often change, related to the length of a naming-rights contract or, in some cases, shifts in corporate identity or news of corporate perfidy.

Last week came news that the Brooklyn Cyclones' stadium in Coney Island, originally KeySpan Park and latterly MCU Park, has been renamed Maimonides Park--from a utility company to a credit union to a hospital, Maimonides Medical Center.

That's three names in 20 years--and an escalation of syllables. As explained via Wikipedia, the KeySpan name evaporated after the utility's purchase by National Grid, and the Municipal Credit Union deal was only 11 years.

The Cyclones' official notice says the new deal is for ten years, through the 2031 summer season. Though the announcement (unsurprisingly) doesn't mention a dollar figure, it did come with typical boosterish talk:

The name reflects a new partnership that unites two of the borough’s iconic institutions – a team celebrating its 20th anniversary season and a healthcare organization celebrating its 110th year of service to Brooklyn.
Or, alternatively, the name reflects a business deal.

The impact, and the arena question

The stadium name change, for a open-air venue that maxes at about 7,000 attendees and hosts relatively few events outside baseball, likely won't be dramatic, just as the switch from Keyspan Park to MCU Park wasn't so dramatic. Yes, they have to produce new signs, and maps must be updated.

However, should the (now seemingly bargain-price) Barclays Center get renamed, based on the desire of the arena operators to reap more revenue and/or the bank's recognition that the sponsorship doesn't help its business strategy, it would be a much bigger deal.

After all, the Atlantic Ave-Pacific St subway hub was renamed Atlantic Ave-Barclays Ctr, so that associated naming rights deal would have to be reopened, and someone would have to pay for all the new signage and new maps.

Also, the name "Barclays Center," for better or worse, is part of public consciousness--as arena, transit hub, area crossroads, and gathering space--so it wouldn't be simple to change the name.

Still, I suspect, it would be possible--after all, money talks, and the arena, however its fractional civic function, is aimed to make money.  

Kind of a pity, though, that the public entities that subsidized and otherwise enabled the (nominally publicly-owned) arena never asked for a fraction of the naming rights, as in some other jurisdictions.