Have you ever heard the place where the Giants play called anything else but AT&T Park? Whether it be in a coffee shop, at a gym, friends talking on the phone, it’s always the same. The Giants play in “AT&T Park”. It’s not Giants Stadium, or any other more apt description of the place, but strictly the name given by a corporate entity. It seems that a corporation can buy naming rights and thereby enter private conversations. We just follow along, as if their purchase price makes inroads into our constitutionally given freedom of speech.
If you were told to start calling that bridge the “Golden Arches Gate Bridge”, would you?
I can already hear voices of the Bay Area coming together in outrage, saying “a hard line will be drawn if they paint the Golden Arches Gate Bridge yellow!”
I understand why announcers and team employees toe the company line here; they have to. They could face disciplinary measures if they don’t. But last I checked, neither AT&T nor the Giants or MLB have the muscle to fine or sue you if you decide to stop your involuntary personal advertising campaign for a corporate giant.
How about instead of calling it AT&T Park, we go for a half measure and call it Corporate Giant Park?
Or really just go crazy and call it Giants Stadium?
I’ve heard people say “see you at AT&T Park” when what they are actually planning is to meet at a Giants game. Talk about corporate control.
Or my favorite is: in the same breath that someone takes to complain about corporate control in America, they say that they love AT&T Park.
Remember the outrage of the entitled FaceBook users who were upset when the company introduced ads into the FaceBook newsfeed? That was just a company putting ads into the users line of vision. Well, in regard to stadium naming rights, people apparently don’t have any problem at all ceding advertising space in their own personal newsfeeds a.k.a. their conversations.
At least the 49ers made an effort to show some creativity and connection on stadium naming rights–they went with Levi’s stadium to honor the connection to the jeans that those 49ers in 1849 wore when they were mining for gold. Still, that bit of cuteness does not even make it remotely worthwhile to work that brand into every conversation that takes place about what happened at the last 49ers game.
How about a movement, the modern day equivalent of a sit-in, where we come together and try to thumb our nose at the subliminal influence of power and money. Let’s call that place where the Giants play baseball Giants Stadium.
While it may not be in the cards to tell FaceBook not to put ads in their newsfeed, we can clear our own newsfeed of ads.