The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
One of the first pieces of news I got after the Champions League final was that the board had decided to expand the stadium by more than 11,000 seats.
In other words, our not-even-one-year-old arena is about to have its seating capacity increased by almost 40%. This is huge news, and it only heightens the importance of finding a good name for the place. And thus, to the contest results.
First, thanks to everyone who wrote in with an entry, whether by email or in the comments. There were a lot of great suggestions, which could be divided into a few different categories:
But you know what? I can’t resist Naming Rights Park. Part of me wants to go with Dante, but even more of me loves the idea of thumbing our noses at corporate sponsorship while creating a giant in-joke for the entire town of Vercelli. What finally settled it was the ease with which I could hear Derek Rae saying, “Live tonight from Naming Rights Park, on the beautiful Via Dante Alighieri.” Plus, I see no reason why we can’t still call the visitor’s locker room “the Inferno.”
So Naming Rights Park it is. If we need a game-world explanation, let’s say people in Vercelli started using the name as a joke when the first architects’ drawings of the new stadium included a giant “Naming Rights” on the roof (not that that would ever happen in real life, of course), and then a group of like-minded fans opposed to the corporate takeover of soccer banded together on the internet, raised some money, and actually bought the naming rights and went with that name. We’ve got a 20-year naming rights deal that’s only bringing us €1 million a year, so if we got a couple of rich fans on board, this isn’t even totally unfeasible.
Here we are then: Naming Rights Park, an elegant, modern, soon-to-be-30,000-seat arena in the heart of old Vercelli. Technically, Siobhan was the first person to suggest the name, so she should win the contest. However, since she’s clearly already in charge of the stadium’s fine dining, we’re going to name the ultras’ curva (the north stand) after the first person who didn’t enter the contest over breakfast: Kyle. Who is now the official capo of the Curva di Kyle.
Congratulations, Kyle. Just remember: Our tifos had better put those jokers from the rest of Italy to shame. We’re still undefeated for all time at the Naming Rights, and we’re going to need all kinds of atmosphere to keep it that way.
by Brian Phillips · June 19, 2009