The Chicago White Sox are not having a great season. They’re currently sitting five games under .500 and 12 games out of first place. Meanwhile, their crosstown rivals the Cubs just became the first team in baseball to hit the 80-win mark.
So, in an effort to change the news cycle, the White Sox just made a “huge” announcement: they’re renaming their stadium in November, going from U.S. Cellular Field to… Guaranteed Rate Field. And the crowd did not go wild.
Reaction on Twitter was swift and brutal. Then the hometown Bears and Cubs piled on too. And it probably doesn’t help that the U.S. mortgage company’s logo is just a giant red arrow pointing down. You know, the same direction the Sox are currently headed in the standings.
But it’s far from the only instance of corporate naming rights gone wrong. Here’s our ranking of the worst of the worst, names so bad, we wouldn’t blame fans for just staying home.
10. Whataburger Field
Where: Corpus Christi, Texas
Who Plays There: Astros’ Double-A affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks
In the grand scheme of things, naming your ballpark after a popular regional fast food chain isn’t really that bad. The fact that the kids’ playground inside is named after a local children’s hospital though is maybe a little on-the-nose.
9. Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium
Where: Dumbarton, Scotland
Who Plays There: Dumbarton F.C.
“Cheap” is a pretty great word when it’s associated with car insurance. But unless you’re talking about ticket prices, it’s not exactly something you want associated with your favourite soccer team.
8. Minute Maid Park
Where: Houston, Texas
Who Plays There: Houston Astros
Probably the only park on this list where their current terrible name actually constitutes as an upgrade. That’s because before the Astros played in a home park named after a juice company, they played in one named after a company best known for committing landmark corporate fraud. Hooray?
7. Smoothie King Center
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Who Plays There: New Orleans Pelicans
Renaming your NBA arena after a smoothie company is kind of like renaming your NBA team after a giant, goofy-looking bird. Oh, wait. Nevermind.
6. Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre
Where: Victoria, British Columbia
Who Plays There: WHL’s Victoria Royals
It’s not the name that’s so bad as the signage. It makes the junior hockey league arena look like the world’s biggest supermarket from the outside.
5. Tony Macaroni Arena
Where: Livingston, Scotland
Who Plays There: Livingston F.C.
This former Scottish Premier League team plays in a stadium that sounds like it was named after an embarrassingly stereotypical cartoon character. In reality, it was named after an embarrassingly stereotypical pasta chain. Much better.
4. Sleep Train Arena
Where: Sacramento, California
Who Plays There: Sacramento Kings
The Kings are getting a new arena and new name later this fall, but never in the history of sports has there been a better corporate synergy between the product in the arena and the name outside it. Come on in and hop aboard the Sleep Train.
3. Northeast Delta Dental Stadium
Where: Manchester, New Hampshire
Who Plays There: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays’ Double-A Club)
Nothing screams “a fun-filled day at the park” quite like reminding fans they’re overdue for a root canal. Fortunately, the corporate partnership only extends to the name: sugary sodas, ice cream and Cracker Jacks are all still on the menu.
2. University of Phoenix Stadium
Where: Glendale, Arizona
Who Plays There: Arizona Cardinals
Just to be clear, the University of Phoenix doesn’t have a football team, or an actual, physical campus, but they do have their own state-of-the-art football stadium. And the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals play there. Makes perfect sense.
1. KFC Yum! Center
Where: Louisville, Kentucky
Who Plays There: University of Louisville Cardinals
Named after a fried chicken chain and their multinational parent company, all capped off with that goofy exclamation point? Yeah, everything about this is amazing. And by amazing, we mean amazingly terrible. Five out of five facepalms.