Seven Pickles


The Best and Worst MLB Stadium Names

Guaranteed Rate Field will be the new name for the White Sox home stadium starting in 2017. My first impression was this had to be, hands-down, the worst stadium name in the majors. Good thing there's some objective data that I can consider alongside my gut feeling to help figure it out.

MLB Stadium Name chart

Here are the points considered in building each stadium's name score:

1. Lifespan and loyalty
My scoring favors stadium names that have been around a long time since that lifespan is an important factor for me. Stadiums that have had a name change are penalized for that lack of consistency and loyalty while stadium names that have carried the same name for multiple stadiums get a large bonus.

  • How long each stadium has had it's name.
  • If the current stadium (the actual edifice) has had more than one name.
  • If the current stadium shares a name with previous stadiums.

2. Name origins that aren't sponsorships
Purists might argue that any stadium using corporate naming rights automatically should be penalized, and I tend to buy into that viewpoint. However, the different origins of non-corporate naming hold different weight for me. In this exercise a stadium named after a person scores higher than a stadium named after its location. A stadium named after the team that plays there scores the lowest.

  • Is the stadium named after a person, its location, or the team that plays there?
  • Some stadiums have a combination of these.

3. Name origins that are sponsorships
Here's the meat of the argument since the majority of stadiums are named using corporate naming rights. First off, it must be said that most of these names aren't all that bad. Certain company names are ambiguous enough to not immediately be recognized as a corporate entity, and others unobtrusively meld with their Ballpark/Stadium/Field suffix. Others, however, are very well known entities that one could argue don't need to spend money on stadium naming to increase their visibility.

In order to come up with a weighting system, I used a criteria of locality. Most naming rights come from companies headquartered in the stadium's city. If that's the case, no points are deducted. Consider that a loyalty bonus. If the company is not currently headquartered in the city, but was founded there, there's a small penalty. If the company was not founded there, nor is it headquartered there, a second penalty is assessed. A third penalty is assessed if the company has no discernible ties to the area. Insurance companies and banks especially have large family trees wherein a previously absorbed company had strong roots in the area.

Higher scores are then given to companies that have longevity as their brands tend to be stronger and more well-known. Higher scores are also given to companies that have less brand recognition. This number is a subjective measure on my part as many of these companies are regional. Other scores may put different values on recognition.

  • Is the company with the naming rights headquartered in the area?
  • If the company isn't headquartered in the area, was it founded in the area?
  • If the company was neither headquartered or founded in the area, does the company have other traceable roots to the area?
  • How long has the company been in existence?
  • What is the company's level of brand recognition?

4. Nickname
Even if you have a terrible sponsored name, you can salvage some points by having a memorable or catchy nickname. However, nicknames are only considered if they tie directly to the name of the stadium. For example, the former Bank One Ballpark, was nicknamed the BOB. However, the Diamondbacks stadium is also known as The Snake Pit, which has nothing to do with the name Chase Field.

5. Previous name
How does the latest stadium name compare to the former name of the team's home field? If the same is better, positive points are rewarded. Worse names are penalized, while quite a few have were viewed as neither better or worse.

6. Personal score
The most subjective rank of them all is the 0-10 score I chose to give each name. There are some names I just really like in spite of flaws and others that just don't work.

The Final Verdict
Congratulations, Guaranteed Rates Field! You aren't the worst name! By virtue of being headquartered in Chicago, they managed to score better than AT&T Park (AT&T only has roots in the Bay Area) and Citizens Bank Ballpark (which has no ties to Philadelphia that I could find). The name still irks me, but quite honestly, I think AT&T bothers me more.

As you might expect, the "classic" names won out, mostly by virtue of being old, but that's OK by me. Unsurprising, the stadiums named after beer companies scored high as they have local ties and corporate longevity and decent ballpark naming synergy (plus Busch stadium gets a benefit of having partial scoring on the "named for a person" category). Parks named after teams were ho-hum, and my personal favorite, Great American Ball Park, still placed in the top ten.

Stadium NameFinal ScoreStadium OpenedFirst Year with Current NameNamed YearsStadium Name Change?Named AfterSponsorship PresenceCompany FoundedRecognition IndexNicknameNickname IndexLast stadium nameFormer name indexPersonal score
Angel Stadium of Anaheim131.61964200413YesTeam/LocationThe Big A2Edison International Field of Anaheim15
AT&T Park80.72000200611YesSponsorHas roots19105SBC Park01
Busch Stadium233.452006195364NoSponsor/PersonHeadquartered18525Sportsman's Park09
Chase Field95.71998200611YesSponsorHas roots19004Bank One Ballpark06
Citi Field143.5200920098NoSponsorHeadquartered18124Shea Stadium05
Citizens Bank Ballpark87.92004200413NoSponsorNone18285The Bank1Veterans Stadium-13
Comerica Park144.32000200017NoSponsorFormerly Hqed18492Tiger Stadium07
Coors Field161.41995199522NoSponsorHeadquartered18735Mile High Stadium08
Dodger Stadium196.51962196255NoTeamChavez Ravine*10Ebbets Field16
Fenway Park253.519121912105NoLocation/SponsorFounded19120Huntington Avenue Grounds07
Globe Life Park in Arlington96.9199420143YesSponsorParent Hqed19512The Globe2Rangers Ballpark in Arlington02
Great American Ball Park153.32003200314NoSponsorHeadquartered19740Cinergy Field110
Guaranteed Rate Field91.7199120170YesSponsorHeadquartered20002US Cellular Field-11
Kauffman Stadium142.31973199423YesPersonThe K3Royals Stadium06
Marlins Park118.5201220125NoTeamSun Life Stadium02
Miller Park163.22001200116NoSponsorHeadquartered18555The Keg6County Stadium08
Minute Maid Park151.22000200314YesSponsorHeadquartered19455The Juice Box8Astros Field /Enron Field27
Nationals Park124.9200820089NoTeamOlympic Stadium (Montreal)04
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum-11
Oriole Park at Camden Yards1621992199225NoTeam/LocationThe Yard4Memorial Stadium08
Petco Park139.22004200413NoSponsorHeadquartered19655Qualcomm Stadium15
PNC Park143.52001200116NoSponsorHeadquartered18525Three Rivers Stadium-15
Progressive Field111199420098YesSponsorHeadquartered19375Jacobs Fields-13
Rogers Centre113.71989200611YesSponsorHeadquartered19604Skydome-14
Safeco Field143.41999199918NoSponsorHeadquartered19233Kingdome05
SunTrust Park110.2201720170NoSponsorHeadquartered19853Turner Field02
Target Field142.5201020107NoSponsorHeadquartered19025Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome16
Tropicana Field1071990199720YesSponsorFounded19475The Trop4Thunderdome-15
Turner Field1331997199720NoPersonThe Ted-1Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium02
US Cellular Field112.41991200314YesSponsorHeadquartered19835The Cell3Comiskey Park-12
Wrigley Field2221914192790YesPersonCubs Park09
Yankee Stadium246.42009192394NoTeamPolo Grounds05
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