The Ottawa Senators' announcement Tuesday that they're changing the name of their arena from Scotiabank Place to the Canadian Tire Centre is just the latest name change for a facility that has had plenty of corporate ones over the years. It started as just The Palladium in 1996, then became the Corel Centre later that year and stuck with that name until it became Scotiabank Place in 2006. Thus, it's not like a corporate moniker's new here. However, the city's sports nomenclature's taken plenty of ribbing lately thanks to the Ottawa (note capitalization) REDBLACKS, and this particular corporate name provided an opportunity for many to continue that, considering Canadian Tire's stereotypical presence and prominent quirks, the new name's similarity to an auto-service place and more:
The problem is that “Canadian Tire Centre” literally sounds Iike the place you go to get your tires rotated.
— Shannon Proudfoot (@sproudfoot) June 18, 2013
In honour of the CFL team, I just wish it had been named THE CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE — Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 18, 2013
Future arenas: WPG: IKEA Arena. CGY: Home Hardware Centre. EDM: The Mark's Work Warehouse. MTL: Place Caisse Populaire. VAN: The lululemon.
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 18, 2013
At Sens games from now on, thundersticks will be just be windshield wipers.
— colin horgan (@cfhorgan) June 18, 2013
When you get a beer, a Canadian Tire mechanic will tell you you don't *need* the pretzels, but in the long term, you're going to want them.
— Alex Boutilier (@alexboutilier) June 18, 2013
However, just because the name's being mocked now doesn't mean Canadian Tire executives should despair yet. There tends to be a lot of commotion and complaints when a sports facility gets its name changed, but the outcry tends to dissipate over time and the new name often catches on in common usage by media and fans. Vancouver's Rogers Arena isn't referred to as GM Place much these days, and there aren't that many who still call Toronto's Rogers Centre the Skydome. Corporately-named arenas are a generally-accepted part of the sports landscape today, and the money available from doing that explains why so many teams are willing to go that way. In general, though, the adoption or mockery of a name depends on how the brand and how the team act around it, and less is often more. Aggressive branding ads and memos, like that other Ottawa team, often tend to backfire and create even more mockery, while ignoring it often makes it die down over time. We'll see which approach the team and the company take here, and if "Canadian Tire Centre" soon becomes a normal part of Ottawa speech, or if it remains an internet punchline going forward.