8 Sport Stadium Naming Flip-Flops Around the Country

PHOTO: This undated photo from Wikimedia Commons shows the Florida Atlantic University stadium.
Wikimedia

Florida Atlantic University hit a nerve when it announced it was naming its football stadium Geo Group Stadium after the private prison company based in Boca Raton.

The National Immigrant Youth Alliance created a petition asking the university to drop the new name, saying "GEO Group has an extensive record of negligence and abuse inside its facilities."

A Florida Atlantic University sports announcer, Ken LaVicka, has already used the nickname, "Owlcatraz" for the stadium, referring to the school mascot, the owl.

Here are eight stadium naming flops and kerfuffles around the country:

Now Geo Group Stadium

PHOTO: This undated photo from Wikimedia Commons shows the Florida Atlantic University stadium.
Wikimedia
FAU Stadium

Last week week, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, said its foundation received a $6 million naming gift from The Geo Group, a private correctional facility development company. The $70 million stadium first opened in 2011 and was called FAU stadium.

The National Immigrant Youth Alliance said it was "appalled" that the university sold the naming rights to GEO Group. In its petition to the university, the group referred to alleged abuses in Geo Group's facilities, including youth who were "sexually preyed upon by staff and all too frequently suffered grievous harm, including death."

Geo Group said it refutes those allegations.

"The GEO Group has had a long-standing partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has provided high quality residential, medical, and programming services in a safe and secure environment in centers which adhere to strict contractual requirements set by the federal government, which employs several full-time, on-site contract monitors who have a physical presence at the centers," the company said in a statement. "Additionally, the centers provide office space for ICE personnel, immigration attorneys, immigration court judges, non-governmental organizations, and other constituent groups who have unfettered access to the facilities. The centers are audited and inspected by ICE on a routine and unannounced basis and are also independently accredited pursuant to nationally recognized standards."

Florida State University did not immediately return a request for comment.

Now Minute Maid Park

PHOTO: A general view of the field is seen as the Chicago Cubs play against the Houston Astros during an MLB baseball game at Minute Maid Park, April 11, 2011 in Houston.
Aaron M. Sprecher/AP Photo
Enron Field

The home of Major League Baseball's Houston Astros was formerly called Enron Field beginning in April 2000. The energy company paid a reported $100 million for the 30-year deal. Unfortunately, Enron had the biggest corporate bankruptcy in American history in 2001, collapsing under a massive fraud scheme that sent its executives to jail.

The stadium name reverted to Astros Field in February 2002. Through a $170 million deal, it eventually took on the title of the juice company, Minute Maid, based in Houston.

Now Scottrade Center

PHOTO: Interior view of the Savvis Center, home of the St. Louis Blue taken on February 15, 2003 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Elsa/Getty Images
Savvis Center

Before the National Hockey League's St. Louis Blues played in Scottrade Center in Missouri, they played in Savvis Center, named after tech company, Savvis Inc.

The year was 2000, the height of the dotcom bubble. Unfortunately, the 20-year deal was conducted through 750,000 shares of stock, then worth about $6.75 million, to cover the first six years, when the stock was worth about $9 a share.

But the next year, the stock fell to below $1 a share. The stadium and Savvis renegotiated and the company agreed to pay $1.25 million each year in cash from 2002 through 2005, the St. Louis Business Journal reported.

Now CenturyLink Field

PHOTO: General view of exterior of Qwest Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle, Wash.
Kirby Lee/Getty Images
Qwest Field

Originally called Seahawks Stadium after Seattle's National Football League team, Qwest Field was named after telecommunications company Qwest, based in Denver.

After Qwest was acquired by CenturyLink, based in Louisiana, in 2011, CenturyLink reportedly spent "millions" to replace Qwest signs, reported the Denver Post.

CenturyLink also cut about 400 jobs in Colorado, or 5 percent of its workforce, after the acquisition.

Now MetLife Stadium

PHOTO: New York Jets fans enjoy a tailgate party outside the new Meadowlands stadium on September 13, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images
New Meadowlands Stadium

In 2008, the NFL's Giants and Jets were in talks with German-based insurer Allianz for possible naming rights to a football stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The talks garnered negative publicity because Allianz had insured the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust and was accused to failing to provide Jewish customers their insurance proceeds.

The talks eventually fell apart and eventually the stadium was named New Meadowlands Stadium in 2010. Through a 25-year agreement, it became MetLife Stadium in 2011.

Future shopping center?

PHOTO: Candlestick Park Stadium, San Francisco, California.
Gerald Hoberman/Getty Images
Candlestick Park

Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants first played at Candlestick Park until 2000 when it moved to AT&T Park.

When the NFL's San Francisco 49ers moved into Candlestick Park in the 1970s, all was quiet in the name arena until 1995, when it called 3Com Park at Candlestick Park, licensed to tech company 3Com Corporation. When the deal expired in 2002, the stadium was officially called San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Park. Then in 2004, it became Monster Park after the cable equipment company, Monster Cable.

After that deal expired in 2008, just in time for the financial crash, the name reverted back to just Candlestick Park.

After the city of San Francisco and the 49ers failed to reach an agreement for a new stadium, the 49ers announced they will move to a new stadium about one-hour south in Santa Clara, Calif. in 2014.

This month, stadium officials announced they were going to blow up Candlestick Park after the 49ers' next season to make room for a shopping center.

Now O.co Coliseum

PHOTO: The Overstock.com Oakland Coliseum is seen in this undated photo.
Wikimedia
Overstock.com Coliseum

The NFL's Oakland Raiders' home has seen a slew of names, including Network Associates Coliseum, after the tech company, McAfee Coliseum, another tech company, and Overstock.com, another tech company that offers discounted retail goods.

Today, it's O.co Coliseum, Overstock.com's marketing name. But because the Raiders and Overstock didn't bring the MLB's Oakland A's into the initial negotiations, the baseball team referred to the stadium as the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum until months after the stadium was renamed.

Now Gillette Stadium

CMGI Field

The NFL's New England Patriots used to call home CMGI Field, after the internet service company CMGI Inc., based in Waltham, Mass. After CMGI's stock dropped below $1 in 2002 during the dot-cum bubble bust, the name CMGI Field was no more.

Men's personal care company Gillette, based in Boston, bought the naming rights. Though Procter & Gamble bought Gillette in 2005 for $57 billion, the multinational corporation decided to leave the name of the hometown company on the stadium.

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