What’s in a name?
Oct 30, 2006
This is the sad, very absurd but none-the-less true, tale of our local sports arena naming fiasco. The downtown Boston sports arena and home of the Celtics and Bruins has carried 34 different names since its construction was announced in 1993. That’s an average of 4.5 months per name over its entire 13 year history. Some highlights:
* Originally named “Shawmut Center,” this was changed to “Fleet Center” after Fleet Bank purchased the former Shawmut Bank. This change occurred in 1995, before the arena was officially opened later in the year.
* After Fleet was purchased by the conglomerate Bank of America in 2004, the naming rights were purchased from Bank of America by the owner and operator of the arena, Delaware North Companies.
* During the search for a long-term naming rights deal, Delaware North Companies auctioned daily naming rights on internet auction site eBay. The price for one day of naming rights averaged $3,000 (US). From February 10 to March 13, 2005, the arena had a different name almost every day. The name of the Fleet Center on February 28, 2005 during the period of daily naming rights was “Boston Garden.” A legitimate offer to have the arena named “Derek Jeter Center” in honor of the Yankees shortstop as a joke for a day was nixed and the arena was known for two days as the “Yankees Suck Center.”
* After this period, the arena was named “Your Garden.”
* On March 3, 2005, Maine-based TD Banknorth, the U.S. subsidiary of Toronto-Dominion Bank, announced its purchase of the naming rights. They chose “TD Banknorth Garden,” which had already been the name of the arena for two days during the period of daily naming rights, with garden being used to evoke the memory of the former “Boston Garden” that once stood on Causeway Street and was the home of Boston Celtics teams that won 16 NBA Championships and Boston Bruins teams that won 5 Stanley Cups.