We've seen what the impending SoDo arena might look like and we've seen what it would look like if it were made entirely out of butter. One aspect of the arena that we don't know yet is what it will be called. There's little doubt that someone will pay for naming rights and become synonymous with the team or teams that play there.
The naming of the arena will become part of the fan experience. We'll figure out nicknames based on it (CenturyLink Field is "The CLink") and the company name will be shorthand ("We're going to Safeco"). Assuming it'll be a local company, who might end up with their name plastered across the top of this new complex? Let's take some guesses...
Possible Name: Amazon Arena
Potential: Strong. Amazon is already expanding like crazy all over Seattle so it's only natural that they'd want to plant their flag here. We could say things like "The Amazon is one of the most dangerous places on planet Earth" or that "you are now entering The Ama-Zone." Then again that's probably not something we should actually say out loud. We'll just think it to ourselves.
Possible Name: Microsoft Center
Potential: Strong. Bellevue couldn't get an arena but in a way they could end up co-opting the Seattle one by placing their favored son's name all over it. The fear would be that Microsoft would want to change the name every time they release a new product (The Microsoft Windows 8 Center) and then change it again a few weeks later when the product's issues are discovered.
Possible Name: Nordstrom Arena
Potential: Decent. Fans could flock to The 'Strom to watch the Sonics play and when one of the players gets on a shooting streak, the announcer can say, "He's off the rack!"
Possible Name: Starbucks Center
Potential: Very strong. How does Starbucks not already have naming rights to an arena in Seattle? The coffee metaphors would be off the charts, making copy editors' lives so much easier. We'd probably call it The Buck. Most Seattlites would swear they've never been inside Starbucks Center and instead spend most of their time watching basketball inside the Caffe Vita Dome instead.
Possible Name: Vulcan Center
Potential: It's probably some kind of conflict of interest for Paul Allen, who owns the Portland Trailblazers, to also own naming rights to a Seattle arena. But then again, when has that ever stopped him? Besides, we happen to think the idea of hearing there's a game at "The Vulcan" sounds awesome. If you agree, you're a giant nerd. And if you don't, you're very judgey.
Possible Name: PEMCO Arena
Potential: Decent. There's something about having The PEMCO next to Safeco. Plus, think of all the ways they can work the arena crowd into their "We're A Lot Like You, A Little Different" ad campaign.
Company: Key Bank
Possible Name: Key Arena
Potential: You laugh, but, here's the thing. Key Bank stopped paying for the naming rights to the actual Key Arena back in 2010. Technically-speaking, it shouldn't still be called Key Arena. They've got all that naming rights cash just sitting there, collecting interest.
What other potential sponsors and arena names should be on the list?
· First-Look At SoDo Arena Conceptual Designs [Curbed Seattle]
· Here's Seattle's New SoDo Sports Arena Composed of Butter [Curbed Seattle]
· Sodo arena proposal revives questions about KeyArena's future [Seattle Times]