Sports journalists for whatever reason think it is part of their job to identify the corporate sponsor of a stadium or an arena as part of their reporting job. It isn’t, you never hear anyone covering Congress say, from the Sam Rayburn Building, I’m so and so. The sports media give free plugs to corporate sponsors. But the Philadelphia 76ers ownership may have thrown a monkey wrench into the reporter’s process of identifying the corporate naming rights partner.
Officially the Philadelphia 76ers according to the team play in the Center not the bank naming rights owner of the arena in South Philadelphia. The 76ers ownership has a valid reason for dropping the corporate name from news releases, the bank isn’t a 76ers official partner. It is understandable from a team announcing and news release standpoint that a corporate name is used, why beat writers, radio reporters and TV anchors who are not affiliated with a team use the corporate name is unknown. But in Denver, when the stadium that was built for the National Football League Broncos was opened in 2001, the Denver Post refused to call the facility by the corporate name in the paper’s stories. A squabble ensued between the naming rights holder and the newspaper with the newspaper editor saying it was more important to serve the public interest than a corporate interest. Eventually the Denver Post referred to the stadium by the corporate name. That name was changed a decade later. Corporate names come and go and in fact the Miami Dolphins played football in a stadium named after a corporate entity that ceased existing for a while. The arena name in Boston has had numerous corporate partners.
It is not the job for journalists to push a corporate name, the Denver Post had it right in 2001. It will be interesting to see how Philadelphia and NBA journalists refer to the Philadelphia building with a corporate name not recognized by the team.
Mr. Evan Weiner is a sports journalist/commentator known for his columns about the business and politics of sports. He was the winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award.