Just one day before a seemingly silent transition could have occurred from one ill-fitting stadium sponsor to another, the universe–or Crain’s Danny Ecker–gave us one more delightful wrinkle.
“A commitment to branding is why the signs going up this week around the 25-year-old stadium look virtually the same as the company’s logo, except for the word ‘field’ at the end.
Ciardelli said the design was a joint effort between the company’s in-house creative team and the Sox, who suggested replacing the arrow with an image of home plate. ‘But I told the White Sox that it’s our company logo, and they were respectful of the decision’ to keep the arrow after all, Ciardelli said.”
Given the dominance sports teams have enjoyed in stadium deal negotiations with municipalities in the past few decades, and that this sponsorship agreement will solely benefit the previously neglected state-run Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, there might be some karmic pleasure in seeing the White Sox swatted aside in a situation where they have no leverage. They made a deal with a company that has no interest in the arrangement beyond their own promotion, and are now reaping the reward. But then there’s still the part where we’re all stuck looking at this silly logo.
A common defense to having a large downward arrow stamped to the side of the stadium into the next decade is that it would not matter if the team was winning. If the Sox had made the playoffs for the last eight years in a row, rather than missing them, we would care less about the seemingly negative logo, the clunky name and the previously anonymous local company. This is true, just as if they had taken Frank Firke’s idea and named it Minnie Minoso Field, it would not suddenly wash away the angst of the Sox lack of recent success and clear direction. This is because the name of the baseball team’s stadium matters much less than the quality team playing in it, and this incredibly obvious observation does not prevent bad things from being acknowledged as bad.
But it’s wise to remember that U.S. Cellular Field was also a bad and clunky name, and that we were once desperate enough to float “The Joan” as a nickname due to omnipresent Joan Cusack advertisements before the forces of familiarity and yes, the Sox winning games, pushed its badness to the back of our minds. Corporate sponsor names have been with us for decades, and nothing could be worse than the .com boom, so the stink of this name will die out of the news cycle in a day or two, and resurface at the start of the season, and any time the Sox actually find themselves on national television in the form of pithy jokes. Of course, we’ll probably quip about it on here a couple times per week.
As has been noted elsewhere, the length of the naming rights deal (through 2029), and the expiration of the agreement on competitive upgrades in 2026, make this likely the last name the stadium bear while the White Sox are its primary tenant. While it’s impossible to look 10 or 13 years into the future and know where the White Sox will play given the changes that could take place in ownership in that time, this deal at least leaves open some possibility for the Guaranteed Rate arrow poking out from the vines and wreckage of a post-apocalyptic society centuries from now. For example:
Now that’s a legacy worth paying for.
Lead Image Credit: Guaranteed Rate’s Twitter Account