When the White Sox announced a new, 13-year naming rights deal for their stadium (which you can continue to call whatever you’d like), the jokes were plentiful and justified: The name is awkward and bland, and could they really not do better than a medium-sized mortgage lender? But judgment was largely reserved until we found out how the ballpark would incorporate the company’s logo, a downward-pointing arrow that screams the opposite of success in every field but golf and mortgage rates. Well, here you go.
Crain’s Chicago Business has the first rendering of the big ol’ logo that will go outside the stadium and on signage within, and it’s the arrow. The White Sox aren’t dumb—they didn’t want this—but they don’t have a say in the matter.
Covering the stadium with a corporate emblem whose defining feature is a downward-pointing red arrow felt to many fans like salt on the wounds of faltering attendance and an eight-year playoff drought.
The Sox said at the time that the exact imagery that would adorn their publicly owned venue was a work in progress, though team officials did their best to deflect criticism and remind people that an arrow is, well, just an arrow, nothing more.
[Guaranteed Rate CEO Victor] Ciardelli said the design was a joint effort between the company’s in-house creative team and the Sox, who suggested replacing the arrow with an image of home plate. “But I told the White Sox that it’s our company logo, and they were respectful of the decision” to keep the arrow after all, Ciardelli said.
This, White Sox brass and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, is what can happen when you throw yourself in bed with corporations for money. (And not all that much money! The naming-rights deal is just $2 million a year. The most recent MLB deals for which terms are available are Citi Field, which costs $21 million a year, and Target Field, at $5.3M per. The MLB average is $4.4 million per year.)
Even setting aside the White Sox for a second, it seems weird that a mortgage company’s logo is an upside-down house? I guess I’ll never understand business.