Christopher Swope was GOVERNING's executive editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The selling of naming rights for stadiums, arenas and other public buildings is not nearly as controversial as it used to be. I'm not sure if that's because we've all grown accustomed to the weird ring of venues such as Quicken Loans Arena and Merchantsauto.com Stadium. Or maybe in a world saturated with advertising we've all become pros at tuning out corporate gobbledygook. Either way, our tolerance for sponsorship seems to be growing.
Just look at what's happening in Boston. There's a naming rights controversy brewing in Beantown--but not of the "Oh no, not Depends Undergarments Park" variety. Rather, the issue in Boston is that the city's new convention center, which opened in 2004, remains without a sponsor.
It seems Boston's new meeting space continues to go by the boring and unlucrative name of the Boston Convention & Exhibit Center. According to this story in the Boston Globe, the state convention center authority may be leaving as much as a million bucks on the table. The story on naming rights is no longer about pangs of civic guilt over selling out. Now, the story is: what are you waiting for? Sell out already!
This being Boston, there's also politics involved. Republicans suspect that convention officials are deliberately forfeiting sponsorship revenue because they want to save the nameplate for their Democratic pal, Mayor Tom Menino. Convention officials deny that. So does Menino's office.
It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out. Will your next Boston meeting be at the Menino Center? Or Highest Bidder Hall?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.