STADIUM NAMING CURSE
While spending the entire day painting and listening to football Sunday, I heard the promos for the appearance of a CEO who was accused of crimes and yet dared to be interviewed by Mike Wallace. I didn’t realize until reading Kristopher’s blog this morning that it was none other than HealthSouth exec Richard Scrushy (pronounced SCREW she). I’ve followed the case only on the periphery and have no real opinion about it but am amused because this is yet another case of the Stadium Naming Curse.
When I arrived, along with the eventual PoliBlogger, at Troy State in 1998, the school was in the process of moving from Division I-AA to Division I-A. The first step in this process was the rededication of Memorial Stadium as “Schrushy Field,” named after the main donor to that effort. Steven and I were both bemused that a small regional teaching school was selling out its stadium naming rights–and more than a bit puzzled that someone would pay for them.
Selling the right to name a sports venue after a corporation often seems to yield embarrasment. The most famous example is Enron Field, the former name of the Houston Astros ballpark. But several others have gone bankrupt or experienced severe financial decline, like 3Com Park in San Fran; American Airlines Arena and American Airlines Center in Miami and Dallas, respectively; TWA Arena in St. Louis; Pro Player Stadium in Miami; and Conseco Fieldhouse in Indy. Obviously, most corporations who buy naming rights are doing fine. But it is an amusing anomaly at any rate.