Once upon a time, a stadium’s name was part of a club’s identity. A big part, in fact.
That day came and went as clubs learned how to monetize all the sundry sponsorship opportunities and we were saddled, like it or not, with The Emirates Stadium, Red Bull Arena, Allianz Arena and such. (Obviously, this is not just a pox on soccer … it’s across the board on big-time sports.)
Even then, the stadium name was more or less attached to the club, at least partially synonymous with the organization.
Now, well, these things tend to be more fluid than any of us would like, going darn near willy-nilly to the highest bidder. The new stadium name comes. It goes. We all have a thought about whether we like the fresh handle … and then check out to watch the latest video of piano playing cats.
So, this isn’t the kind of biggie big news that it once would have been, but it still checks the box on marginally significant: the Portland Timbers will now play at freshly renamed Providence Park. The Major League Soccer club announced its new deal Monday afternoon.
Providence Park … it does have a slightly more regal ring to it, no?
Five MLS clubs have changed stadium naming rights or adopted a name sponsor over the last two years.