April 11, 2012

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

Naming Rights Report: Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

Outcry forces minor league baseball team to quickly change casino-linked name

By Alfred Branch
Facing mounting criticism of the local AAA baseball park bearing the name of a gambling casino, it took only a day for the Chickasaw Nation, one of Oklahoma’s leading Native American tribes, to reverse course.

The Nation, owners of the Newcastle Casino outside of Oklahoma City, announced it acquired the naming rights to the Oklahoma City RedHawks’ ballpark on April 4 and planned to call it Newcastle Field at Bricktown. On signage that was to be erected at the park in the coming weeks, the word “Casino” was going to be featured in small, faint letters to the right just under the word “Newcastle.”

Bill Anoatubby, governor of Chickasaw Nation, said in a statement last week that the tribe jumped at the chance to build on the already two-year-old relationship between the team and the Nation.

Despite the good intentions, criticism of the new name came swiftly.

City officials were briefed on the proposed name in the weeks leading up to the announcement, Shadrick told Venues Today. But that did not stop some from complaining.

They questioned why a baseball stadium would be named after a gambling entity, considering the sport’s checkered past with Pete Rose and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson receiving lifetime bans for alleged involvement with illegal wagering.

Additionally, others criticized the use of Newcastle in the name because it did not have anything to do with promoting the city. Newcastle is the small suburb where the casino is located outside of Oklahoma City, and it has a population of less than 8,000.
The outcome:Shadrick said the Nation listened to the public outcry and quickly decided to change the name to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Nation will still hold casino-related promotions in the ballpark, which it has for the last two seasons, and Shadrick added that the relationship between the Nation and the team remains strong.Comment:  For more on Indians and naming rights, see San Manuel Partners with Local Ballclub and Foxwoods Partners with Mystic Aquarium.

Below:  "The newly-named Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City."

No comments: