For better or worse, our city more strongly identifies with beer than it does with insurance. But there’s nothing we can do about it.
Before we start, it is worth noting that the title of this article still refers to Miller Park as Miller Park.
Miller Park’s name won’t officially become American Family Field until 2021. But we do know that old habits will die hard, and we may not let them die at all. We predict a “Sears Tower” effect occurring.
A lot of people — including the team itself — are going to start calling the stadium by its new name soon. We need to be ready for it. Even if insurance is way less cool (and way less “Milwaukee”) than beer.
Winter is here. Change is coming.
YEAH, THERE’S NO question that Miller Park has a better ring to it than American Family Field. But it’s also pretty obvious why the name has to change.
Let’s start with business. MillerCoors already has Milwaukee on lock. The taps have always been flowing. Losing the naming rights probably isn’t going to affect beer sales here.
Next, it’s pretty clear that AmFam is trying to take over Milwaukee — hostile or otherwise. It already has its name on Summerfest’s $53-million amphitheater, which might be opening this year. The insurance giant also sponsors the American Family Insurance House at the Summerfest grounds; the cost of those naming rights has not been reported. And AmFam’s name is also borne on the Brewers’ spring training fields.
What’s next? Is AmFam going to buy the courthouse?
Still, as Milwaukeeans, we can let American Family spend their money. We’re not going to change our insurance provider because of this. We don’t particularly care the name of the building the Brewers win their first World Series in.
They just better win it.
And if the $4 million American Family is reportedly spending per year on the naming rights helps the Brewers keep Christian Yelich on the payroll, or hire a stud pitcher that can keep us in the playoff hunt, it’ll be worth it.
It’s not like Milwaukee County Stadium was all that sweet of a name. It was named after the flippin’ county for Miller’s sake. How uncool is that?
NOT TO PLAY the “It Could Be Worse” game, but it could be worse. At least the Brewers’ home still has something positive like “Family” in the title. Here are just a handful examples of teams stuck in lame AF stadiums:
• One of the reasons Miller Park is such a good name is that it’s unobtrusive. It doesn’t feel like branding. So, when you have a business with a name as immediately recognizable as FedEx, it’s really offputting to see its name on a stadium — like how the Washington Redskins play at FedExField and the Memphis Grizzlies play at FedExForum. (We have no idea why they don’t have any spaces in the names.)
• Nobody wants to think about banking while watching sport. That’s why all the following stadium names kind of suck: the Buffalo Sabres’ KeyBank Center, Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium, Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field, Jacksonville Jaguars’ TIAA Bank Field, Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium, and the Indiana Pacers’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
• The Pittsburgh Penguins play at PPG Paints Stadium. Long live paint!
• One of the most disliked stadium names is the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park. Not only is the baseball field at the center of a cheating scanadal, but lemonade is also way less cool than beer.
• The Cleveland Cavaliers’ RocketMortgage Fieldhouse could’ve been a better fit with another NBA franchise: the Houston Rockets. In Cleveland, it’s just, like, whatever man.
• The name Guaranteed Rate Field is even more of an abomination considering how iconic the Chicago White Sox’s former stadium was: Comisky Park.
• The Ottawa Senators play in the Canadian Tire Centre. Because nothing says hockey like burning rubber.
• The NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, the NHL’s Kings, and WNBA’s Sparks play in the Staples Center………. yay. “Staples.”