So Rogers Communications Inc. might be considering selling the naming rights to Rogers Centre, as per Bob Elliot of the Canadian Baseball Network’s tweet last night.
And this isn’t a far-fetched business idea, is it? I mean, after Scotiabank’s holy-how-much $800 million deal for the naming rights to the concrete that houses the Buds and Raps, why wouldn’t Joe Natale and co. not turn a quick trick into some serious – and cue the Wu-Tang Clan – cash rules everything around me CREAM.
And if this actually happens, Rogers Communications, who bought the Dome for $25 million in 2004, might actually sell the naming rights of the building for more than they purchased it for.
Now, I know that a lot of fans want Rogers CEO, Joe Natale, to sell the Blue Jays, and the reasons that have been presented recently for why this could be a real possibility do make me hum-and-haw, but for some reason I just don't buy it - I dunno.
That being said, I’m sure that the time will come when the company sells and takes less bites from our filet mignon, but they will always have their financial fork in it somehow – that’s for sure. I guess I'm just getting so used to Rogers as the owner, it seems almost too good to be true that Mr. Natale and co. would be ready to part ways with the Jays right now.
And clearly the Blue Jays are not the most important division of their business, but there is money to be made, especially in merchandise sales, TV ratings, and at the gate as the past three seasons showed the suits in the executive offices - so I just don't think they would sell at this moment, that's all.
However, the naming rights to the stadium? Now, that, I believe, is a sale and an avenue of wealth they are exploring, don’t you think?
And the thing is, I’m not trying to put a knife into the please-Rogers-sell-the-Blue-Jays-dream that many Canadians have, I just don’t want to have hope for a thought that floats out-and-about – even if there is reason to make it feel like it’s a possibility and not just a gregarious idea.
So now, of course, people want for the ‘whoever’ who hurls the cash at the naming rights to call the stadium the SkyDome, but a business name might be attached to it, right?
One thing is for sure, name change or not, the Ted Rogers bronze statue will still stand outside gate 6, as future tourists unknowingly pass by it in the summer to take a picture of the CN Tower - or watch the Spiderman guy pose for a toonie. I don’t think that will change with the name of the stadium. This is just going to be a very expensive deal for the buyer if it happens, and a ton of people only choose to know it as the Dome anyway – so there is that too.
I guess, for all of us 1980 kids who caught the tale end of the 'mistake by the lake' and then grew up with the Dome, will always just know it as that, the Dome - no matter what other name is attached to it. It's probably because we love to hold onto the memory that came with that time, as the eighties were ending, a new decade was beginning, and back-to-back World Series championships soon came after.
My friends and I were in grade 8 when the Blue Jays won their last World Series and Vuarnet, jammers, and hypercolour shirts weren't cool anymore. We were all rockin' eight hole Docs, Seattle grunge was all the noise that filled our ears, and playing Mortal Kombat at the arcade and beating Goro with one quarter was a legendary accomplishment.
When I think of the SkyDome, I remember those times. So maybe that name just kind of has a special place in all of us - for whatever reason - and that's why so many of us have held onto calling it that over the years.
But, I think, if a future name change is coming, it'd be pretty cool if a local 'Toronno' business bought the naming rights, wouldn't it?
(Side note: this is clearly not a reality.)
Could you imagine the Dufflet Dome? I bet cake day would be a huge hit with the kids on a Saturday afternoon. And if Dufflet didn’t want to pony up the big bucks it will take, how about the California Sandwiches Dome? Beer, baseball, and delicious fat – I’m in. And if they just haven’t sold enough eggplant sandwiches to buy the rights, maybe the Burger Priest Dome? Imagine a secret menu day, paid for by the sponsors. I dunno, how about the the Carousel Bakery Dome? If Anthony Bourdain likes the taste of that Canadian classic, you know it’s good. And for the love of all things meat, let’s just get full-on-deli and roll out the Caplansky’s Dome? The brisket that has us all ‘convert to chewish’ – that’s for damn sure. And we could chase down all these savagely delicious good names with the Brickworks Dome too? Who knows? Certainly not Domer.
So maybe the local business won’t be able to realistically bite into the naming rights, but hopefully they will find themselves located in Canada’s dome sweet dome to brighten the overall customer experience, right – Mr. Joe Natale? At the end of the day, no corporation can buy what we feel in our hearts and we all know that there is no place like Dome.