Rose Garden One Of Last Stadiums To Get The Corporate-Naming Touch

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HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – And then there were three.

Only three of the NBA’s 30 arenas do not bear a corporate name: Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks; The Palace of Auburn Hills, home to the Detroit Pistons; and New Orleans Arena, home of the rebranded Pelicans.

Truth be told, that number will soon shrink to two if the Pelicans can find a willing corporate partner.

Last year’s renaming of Milwaukee’s Bradley Center to BMO (Harris Bank) Bradley Center dropped us to four. And Tuesday’s announcement in Portland that the awesomely named Rose Garden Arena — affectionately called simply the Rose Garden — is now the antiseptic Moda Center, made it a lonely three. The deal with Moda Health, a regional health and dental insurance provider, reportedly is for 10 years and $40 million, or $4 million a year, or about $1.4 million less than backup guard Mo Williams will earn the next two seasons.

The Trail Blazers called The Rose Garden Home since 1995, and although team president and CEO Chris McGowan surmised: “The Rose Garden put us on the map, the Moda Center’s going to take us into the future,” Blazers fans seem to have an affinity for roses.

The sudden death of The Rose Garden made us nostalgic for the good ol’ days when an arena name meant something, by gosh, or at least sounded like it did. Gone are The Omni, The MECCA, The Spectrum, The Summit and The “Fabulous” Forum, among others.

Lost are the coliseums like the Coliseum at Richfield — or as I remember it, “Richfield Colisuem” — and the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Which leads to another bygone era of patriotism in arena/stadium naming such as Phoenix’s old barn and Portland’s Rose Garden predecessor, Memorial Coliseum.

And forget about naming an arena after the great metropolis in which it sits. Once New Orleans finds a deal (assuming it can), the mighty Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills will stand alone.

We’re left with a hodgepodge of cold, corporate neon signs on big buildings. It’s difficult enough to keep track of player movement, let alone which stodgy bank or hot company du jour has its name on which arena this week.

Some of these companies seem to come and go with every Wall Street ebb and flow. Quick, name the Philadelphia 76ers’ home arena … For 27 years they suited up at The Spectrum. In the 17 years since moving into a new arena, the place has gone by four corporate names. If you said Wells Fargo Center, congratulations. If you said CoreStates Center, First Union Center or Wachovia Center, please catch up.

It’s hard to believe we’re a solid two decades into naming-rights deals with the late, great Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss really ushering in the era 25 years ago when he signed a deal with Great Western Savings and Loan, changing the Forum to Great Western Forum. The genius behind it is there was little backlash because so few people outside California recognized Great Western as a bank, it almost seemed like a natural name change for a venue that had grown famous for its basketball, boxing and concerts.

The Chicago Bulls weren’t too far behind, going corporate in 1994 with their move into the cavernous United Center and the great Celtics ditched the Boston Garden a year later for something called the FleetCenter. Yes, Fleet specializes in enemas, but this Fleet was actually a Boston-based bank. Of course, once Fleet was sold to Bank of America, the arena name had to be flushed.

In the name of nostalgia, what follows is a history of arena names for each of today’s 30 NBA teams (via basketball-reference.com):

Atlanta Hawks

Alexander Memorial Coliseum (1968-72); Omni Coliseum (1972-97); Georgia Dome (1997-99); Philips Arena (99-present)

Boston Celtics

Boston Garden (1947-95); FleetCenter (1995-2005); TD Banknorth Garden (2005-09); TD Garden (2009-present)

Brooklyn Nets 

Barclays Center (2012-present);
As the New Jersey Nets: Rutgers Athletic Center (1978-81); Brendan Byrne Arena (1981-96); Continental Airlines Arena (1996-2007); Izod Center (2007-10), Prudential Center (2010-12)

Charlotte Bobcats

Charlotte Coliseum (2004-05); Charlotte Bobcats Arena (2005-08); Time Warner Cable Arena (08-present)

Chicago Bulls

International Amphitheater (1966-67); Chicago Stadium (1967-94); United Center (1994-present)

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Arena (1971-74); Coliseum at Richfield (1974-94); Gund Arena (1994-2005); Quicken Loans Arena (2006-present)

Dallas Mavericks

Reunion Arena (1980-2001); American Airlines Center (2001-present)

Denver Nuggets 

Denver Auditorium (1974-75); McNichols Sports Arena (1975-99); Pepsi Center (1999-present)

Detroit Pistons

Detroit Olympia (1957-61); Cobo Arena (1961-78); Pontiac Silverdome (1978-88); The Palace of Auburn Hills (1988-present)

Golden State Warriors

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena (1972-96); San Jose Arena (1996-97 while Oakland arena renovated); The Arena in Oakland (1997-2004); Oakland Arena (2004-06); Oracle Arena (2006-present)

Houston Rockets

Hofheinz Pavilion (1971-75); The Summit (1975-98); Compaq Center (1998-2004); Toyota Center (2004-present)

Indiana Pacers

Indiana State Fair Coliseum (1967-74); Market Square Arena (1974-99); Conseco Fieldhouse (1999-2011); Bankers Life Fieldhouse (2011-present)

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (1985-99); STAPLES Center (1999-present)

Los Angeles Lakers 

Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (1961-67); The Forum (1967-88); Great Western Forum (1988-99); STAPLES Center (1999-present)

Memphis Grizzlies

Pyramid Arena (2001-04); FedExForum (2004-present)

Miami Heat

Miami Arena (1989-99); American Airlines Arena (1999-present)

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Arena (1968-74); The MECCA (1974-88); Bradley Center (1988-2012); BMO Bradley Center (2012-present)

Minnesota Timberwolves

Metrodome (1989-90); Target Center (1990-present)

New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans

New Orleans Arena (2002-present)

New York Knicks

Madison Square Garden (1947-present)

Oklahoma City Thunder

Ford Center (2008-09); Oklahoma City Arena (2009-10); Chesapeake Energy Arena (2010-present)

Orlando Magic

Orlando Arena (1989-99); TD Waterhouse Centre (1999-2006); Amway Arena (2006-present)

Philadelphia 76ers

Convention Hall (1963-67); The Spectrum (1967-94); CoreStates Spectrum (1994-96); CoreStates Center (1996-98); First Union Center (1998-2003); Wachovia Center (2003-10); Wells Fargo Center (2010-present)

Phoenix Suns

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum (1969-92); America West Arena (1992-2007); US Airways Center (2007-present)

Portland Trail Blazers

Memorial Coliseum (1971-95); Rose Garden Arena (1995-2013); Moda Center (as of Tuesday)

Sacramento Kings

ARCO Arena (1985-09); Power Balance Pavilion (2009-12); Sleep Train Arena (2012-present)

San Antonio Spurs

HemisFair Arena (1973-93); Alamodome (1993-2002); SBC Center (2002-06); AT&T Center (2006-present)

Toronto Raptors

SkyDome (1995-98); Air Canada Centre (1998-present)

Utah Jazz

Salt Palace (1979-91); Delta Center (1991-06); EnergySolutions Arena (2006-present)

Washington Bullets/Wizards

Capital Centre (1974-93); US Airways Centre (1993-97); MCI Center (1997-2006); Verizon Center (2006-present)

6 Comments

  1. Neumms says:

    Just because a company buys the name of a stadium doesn’t mean anyone has to call it that. Why is Staples in all caps? It’s a word, not an acronym.

  2. Elesa says:

    I hope MSG never changes its name. It’s too historic now.

  3. Lakers-Warriors-Suns. says:

    I’ve been to Kings and Warriors games. But after they changed the name of the Kings arena to Power Balance Pavilion it felt weird. Then they switched it to Sleep Train Arena. Resulting in me not going to their games anymore :( .

  4. Zo says:

    Sleep Train Arena? That just sounds lame.

  5. Jimmy says:

    As a blazer fan, Im sad. I’ve grown up with the rose Garden. $4 million a year? WHY!!!!!!!

  6. $$ says:

    Doesn’t seem like a lot of money when you consider the amount some players earn per season. This contract pays for a very small portion of the seasonal bill.