Portland is mad about their Blazers. Every day since 1995, they piled into a newly-built Rose Garden to cheer their team on.
Today, one of the unique arena names in the NBA is no more, as the Rose Garden has been re-named the Moda Center.
"The Rose Garden put us on the map, the Moda Center's going to take us into the future," Trail Blazers president and CEO Chris McGowan said.
The team says the arena will be called the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. The new name, effective immediately, is at the center of the Blazers' new deal with Moda Health, previously ODS. The deal is for 10 years, McGowan said, though he declined to disclose other terms.
Sure, the Rose Garden has not been around nearly as long as Madison Square Garden (God help the Dolans if they change THAT name), but it was one of the few that captured the essence of its home city. And there was something cool about hearing an announcer say "welcome to the Rose Garden for tonight's matchup….."
The reaction to the new "Moda Center" wasn't great (via SB Nation)
@blazersedge worst name ever.
— Anchor (@Anchorr) August 13, 2013
“@blazersedge: Rose Garden will be re-named "Moda Center at the Rose Quarter" effective immediately.” Ugly
— SBQR (@Sophiabiabia) August 13, 2013
This is the worst name. RT @blazersedge: Rose Garden will be re-named "Moda Center at the Rose Quarter" effective immediately.
— Michael Reinhardt (@mreinhardt11) August 13, 2013
Other fans responding on blog posts had some more "meh" reactions, with some saying they are just going to call it the "Rose Garden" anyway, so go ahead and call the building whatever you want.
I have long been ambivalent to the rise of commercialism in sports. International sports feature far more corporate logos than team logos, and that has not done anything to hurt anyone's popularity. The key, to me, is making sure that the owners who make money off the arena naming rights use the money to do something other than line their own pockets.
Yes, I know that this is a business, so that is usually what happens in these cases. But when you are talking about facilities that are publicly financed, there needs to be some language in contracts that involves some level of repayment of taxpayer money when naming rights are sold. It is only fair that when taxpayers front the money to help build new arenas, that they get to see some portion of the cash when there is a profit to be made off said facility.
I admit, I am wistful for the days when these arenas had cool names that meant something. I also understand that those days are long gone. Now it is time to thing along more business-like lines. The City of Portland kicked in $34 million to build the arena. Not only should they get some of that back, but future buildings in NBA cities (or for any sport, really) should feature language that allows for repayment of public funds when naming rights are sold. It is only fair.