Naming Rights Going Wrong

If you haven't noticed, it seems most matches in this World Cup are being played at "The FIFA World Cup Stadium" in so-and-so city.

Yes, German sports officials have caught on quite superbly to the All-American skill of commodifying every inch of public space: Welcome to the 'America Online (AOL) Arena' in Hamburg, Germany. Now get used to it.

This is the first World Cup where the issue of corporate naming rights of stadia is an issue. It seems FIFA is suspect about a non-sponsor getting free promotion, but not too interested in the fact that major sporting venues around the world now have names which have nothing to do with the city they're located in, and will change as fast as you can spell E-N-R-O-N.

Not ironically, on the same day that Germany '06 kicked off, the NBA Finals tipped off in the States featuring a series between teams from two different cities which play in the exact same arena name. (the creatively titled 'American Airlines Arena') That was a first in professional sports, and it won't likely be the last.

Very soon, Arsenal FC fans can get excited to cheer on the pride and joy of West London at their posh 'Emirates Stadium' . Expect a new name to call home every three years.