NRG Stadium? It could be worse

By Mark Yost
The Houston Business Journal

MetrodomeIt’ll probably take Houston Texans fans (and rodeo goers) some getting used to, but having parent company NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG) finally change the signs at Reliant Stadium could be worse.
Probably the worst stadium name ever — as far as Houstonians are concerned — is Cowboys Stadium (with Enron Field a close second). But here are the top-5 worst stadium names in my book:
5. Sports Authority Field at Mile High: The Denver Broncos just couldn’t let go of the Mile High name, since it’s so closely identified with the team that plays at 5,280 feet above sea level. But these tortured, multiname deals are the worst.
Delta Airline was supposedly ready to write a check for the new stadium in Cincinnati, but Bengals owner Mike Brown was too fond of his legendary dad, Paul Brown, so it’s simply Paul Brown Stadium. When the Broncos built a new building in which to master almost winning a Super Bowl, they should have done the same thing and either just sold the naming rights — which they originally did to Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ), or simply kept Mile High.
4. LP Field: The Tennessee Titans (formerly the Houston Oilers) are another team Houstonians love to hate. LP Field sounds like it’s in the middle of the Eagle Ford or Bakken shale plays.
3. AT&T Stadium, Verizon Center, Sprint Center and US Cellular Field: What’s worse than paying $8 for a dirty water hot dog and $13 for stale beer? Being constantly reminded of your cell phone bill.
2. Ralph Wilson Stadium: It’s one thing to name a stadium after a legend of the game, like Curly Lambeau or Paul Brown. It’s another to have such a huge ego that you name the stadium after yourself (but let’s not give Mark Cuban any ideas).
1. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and TCI Bank Stadium: They’re in Minnesota. Nuff said.
Honorable mention: Florida Atlantic University, a small school in tony Boca Raton, last year announced that it had sold naming rights to GEO Group, a private prison operator. The protests grew so loud that the school eventually cancelled the deal, but not before clever fans of the FAU Owls came up with an equally clever name for the proposed football stadium: “Owlcatraz.”
Second honorable mention: As if the team name wasn’t bad enough, the New Orleans Pelicans’ arena is the Smoothie King Center.

About Mark Yost
Mark Yost is the author of the Rick Crane Noir series, published by Stay Thirsty Press. Rick Crane is the classic, anti-hero private eye in the spirit of Sam Spade and Jim Rockford. He works in the unmistakably noirish underworld of Upstate New York, running errands and fixing problems for Jimmy Ricchiati Sr., one of Upstate New York's most notorious crime bosses. But readers quickly learn that deep down, Rick Crane is one of the good guys. "Cooper's Daughter," the first book in the widely acclaimed series, is a fast-moving tale in which a heartbroken father comes to Rick and asks him to find out what really happened to his daughter, who was murdered and the details buried in the Unsolved Crimes File of the local police department. The second book in the series is "Jimmy's Nephew," which begins with the death of Joey "Boom Boom" Bonadeo, an up-and-coming boxer and the nephew of Rick's underworld boss. What starts out as a routine investigation turns into a case that will test Rick's faith -- in the Catholic Church and his fellow man. Book No. 3 in the series, "Mary's Fate" is due out in August 2015. Mark Yost also writes for The Wall Street Journal Arts in Review page, as well as the Book Review section. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America -- Midwest Chapter, International Thriller Writers, and a number of other author groups. He is also a member of the Amazon Author's Program. Mark lives in the Loyola neighborhood of Chicago, but he and his son, George, call the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn "home."

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