Friday, February 25, 2005
Arena named Jimmy Fund Center instead
By Darren Rovell
There will be no Derek Jeter Center after all.
On Tuesday, New York attorney Kerry Konrad won the right in an eBay auction to name Boston's FleetCenter for a day. For his $2,325, Konrad wanted to honor the New York Yankees shortstop.
But, on Friday, FleetCenter officials rejected the name, which Konrad hoped would add to the 25-year rivalry he has had with his former college classmates who are Boston Red Sox fans.
"We decided that all the names had to be rated G, and this name was determined to be obscene and vulgar," said Richard A. Krezwick, president and chief executive of the FleetCenter, which has auctioned off daily naming rights to about a dozen companies since its contract with the bank was terminated. "We were afraid of the volume of phone calls bogging down our switchboard, the number of e-mails clogging our portal and the potential graffiti on the side of our building."
When reached at his office, Konrad said he was not disappointed.
"I had no idea that this joke would get so much attention in the first place," Konrad said. "It was a joke. I've already had my laugh. But I could have made it much worse, like the A-Rod Center, Bucky Dent Center, the Aaron Boone Center, or the 'Only 25 More [championships] To Go' Center."
To be fair, the Red Sox are only 20 championships behind the Yankees' major league record 26.
Instead, on March 1, the building will be named the Jimmy Fund Center. Jerry Rappaport Jr., Konrad's ex-college roommate and Red Sox fan, added $6,275 to Konrad's bid -- to reach $8,600 in total to signify the 86-year Boston Red Sox curse that was broken in 2004. The money will go to The Jimmy Fund, which supports the fight against cancer through Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Krezwick said that it's not likely that any future auction winner would get by with naming the arena after anyone associated with the Yankees organization.
"I got a lot of e-mails from Red Sox fans in Boston who tipped their cap to me," Konrad said. "They left the back door open. I'm sure if [Yankees owner] George Steinbrenner were foolish enough to auction off the naming rights to Yankee Stadium for a day, Red Sox fans would have thought of something clever."
The FleetCenter is the home of the NBA's Celtics and NHL's Bruins. No events are planned on March 1 -- the NHL is locked out, and the Celtics have an off-day.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at email@example.com.