What's in a (stadium) name?
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
The Jets and Giants are in the process of selling the naming rights to their new stadium, and the front-runner, Allianz, has ties to Nazi Germany. Gary Myers of the Daily News doesn't hold anything back in condemning the ownership of both clubs for considering a relationship with the insurance firm.
Myers talks about attending the first game at Giants Stadium with his father, and how he never had to "cringe" when he saw the name. He also talks to a Holocaust survivor for the column:
"I am very upset," Holocaust survivor Earnest Michel said yesterday. "I would find the connection of naming the stadium in the name of a German insurance company a very, very serious act and that we as survivors would take exception to."
A public affairs firm has told the New Meadowlands Stadium Corp., that Holocaust experts, former government officials and leading Jewish and survivor groups believe that Allianz has made determined efforts toward restitution over the years. But that doesn't change Myers' feelings on the matter.
"Even if Allianz, which has its name on a stadium in Munich, is willing to pay more than anybody else -- perhaps as much as $30 million per year -- could Giant owners [Steve] Tisch and John Mara and Jet owner Woody Johnson take a little less money and be a little more sensitive?" writes Myers. There seems to be some testimony that Allianz has tried to do the right thing over the years, but why would the Giants and Jets even subject themselves to such scrutiny?"
I think the organizations could receive some serious backlash from the Jewish community, but that doesn't mean they'll end up taking less money. (How are those PSL protests going?)
If the Giants and Jets decide to go with Allianz, I'm sure Tisch, who is Jewish, will take the lead on the P.R. front. This is a highly sensitive topic, and writers like Myers and community leaders aren't going to remain silent, nor should they.
How much is the relationship with Allianz worth to the Giants and Jets? We're about to find out.