Naming a sporting venue isn’t easy. Fans don’t like change and sometimes the name is goofy — ask the Utah Jazz who have the “Vivint Smart Home Arena,” or the Kings’ “Sleep Train Arena.” Now we might have a new challenger for a whole variety or reasons. Welcome to “Guaranteed Rate Field.”
We’re excited to unveil the new Guaranteed Rate Field! pic.twitter.com/pAOXZM1R9h— Guaranteed Rate (@GuaranteedRate) November 1, 2016
There are so many problems here. The first, and most obvious, is the logo. No team in the history of sports wants to be associated with an arrow pointing down. Especially a team whose crosstown rivals are playing in the World Series while they struggled to finish fourth in their division.
Secondly, the name. Venue branding often exposes fans to companies they have never heard of before. Right now, at this very second, I have no clue what “Guaranteed Rate” is. I’m going to assume they’re a mortgage company, Google it, and come back to you.
OK, so I was right. It’s a mortgage company. Now look, this makes sense for a lot of reasons. It’s a Chicago-based company, by all accounts they’re super successful, and customers love them — only problem is that mortgages always have a negative connotation in sports. The only time you hear them used is when people say a team “mortgaged the future.” Small gripe, but a gripe nonetheless.
Outside the arrow we have one mammoth problem. Guaranteed Rate secured the naming rights to the White Sox ballpark back in August. They knew this relationship was going to be starting, and continuing for the next 13 years. So why the hell did this happen?
There is absolutely no reason a company with naming rights to a ballpark should publicly face themselves supporting a die-hard rival inside the same dang city. Look, I’m sure a lot of Guaranteed Rate’s employees prefer the Cubs — and that’s cool, but c’mon. This was not worth that handful of retweets.
The down arrow is so problematic, but not as bad as the sign as a whole. It’s not like two brands can always come together and have a happy marriage, but that stark red-and-white lettering in relief with the black and white of the park and White Sox’s logo is just bad. It’s really bad. Look at how U.S. Cellular handled the branding.
Carved into the stone, a small red accent that evokes their brand. The worst part of all this is that both Guaranteed Rate and the White Sox had MONTHS to try and salvage this. Fans were making fun of it in August. Heck, the entire internet had fun with it.
So, good luck White Sox. This whole thing is a total debacle and we feel for you. Your ballpark has an arrow pointing down, it’s jarring to look at and people are upset. We’d feel bad that fans are mocking you endlessly, but this one was guaranteed to happen — and only you, and Guaranteed Rate seemed to ignore that.