Popular Mets fan board The ‘Ropolitans is okay with the fact that Citigroup, recent recipient of a massive Federal bailout, still intends to give the team $400 million for the naming rights to its new stadium. “Think about it in terms of commercials,” the blog says. “We (American taxpayers) would have no say in how their commercials would look, sound or say. As frustrating and bizarre this might be, Citigroup has the right to do whatever they please with the name…”
Others are not so accommodating. MLB Fanhouse points out that Citigroup is letting 52,000 workers go; surely surrendering the name would have been a wiser economy?
Other authors propose new names: “Bailout Ballpark,” “Uncle Sugar’s Money Dump,” “Paulson Park at Citi Field,” and the old reliable “ShitiField.”
It has been noted that the deal is not just something that Citigroup can cancel at will, but must renegotiate. We think this is an issue on which the new President should put his foot down. He has so far moved cautiously in financial matters, trying to avoid the appearance of socialism, but he has been bolder on sports — he pledged on “60 Minutes” to “throw my weight around” on the issue of a college football playoff system, knowing the people are with him.
The Federal Government traditionally interferes in national sporting matters, in Congressional hearings, anti-trust exemptions, televised coverage of football games, etc. Who would squawk if President Obama nationalized the naming rights to the Mets’ stadium? It would play well locally, for sure, especially if he announced that the new name would be Jackie Robinson Park.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 25, 2008