Or­a­cle is name, but fans won’t nec­es­sar­ily use it

San Francisco Chronicle - Late Edition (Sunday) - - PAGE 2 -

If you hate the new name of the Gi­ants’ ball­park, if you’re fed up with the con­cept of ev­ery sports venue be­ing Your Cor­po­rate Name Here Field, blame the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers and the late Jerry Buss.

Brief his­tory les­son: In 1988, Buss, who owned the Lak­ers and the Fo­rum, sold arena nam­ing rights to Great Western Bank. The Fo­rum be­came the Great Western Fo­rum.

That wasn’t the first. In 1972, the Buf­falo Bills sold their sta­dium’s nam­ing rights to a com­pany that makes a cof­fee creamer, and it be­came Rich Sta­dium. When the Kansas City Kings moved to Sacra­mento in ’85, they played in a tem­po­rary build­ing, ARCO Arena.

But for some rea­son, the Lak­ers’ name sell­out was the tip­ping point that kicked off the nam­ing-rights craze.

Much ridicule was di­rected at Buss for sell­ing his sports soul for cor­po­rate cash. The new name was a cold-blooded come­down from the Fab­u­lous Fo­rum, which is what the arena had been called. Jack Kent Cooke, who built the Fo­rum, was a bom­bas­tic fel­low who or­dered Lak­ers an­nouncer Chick Hearn to use “Fab­u­lous” in ev­ery men­tion of the arena. It was corny, but real.

I’m not sure Great Western Bank got its money’s worth. I lived in Los An­ge­les, and no­body ever called that arena by its cor­po­rate name.

Some­thing sim­i­lar is likely to oc­cur with the Gi­ants. Their fans are find­ing it hard to keep up with the pa­rade of cor­po­rate spon­sors, go­ing from Pa­cific Bell Park to SBC Park to AT&T Park to Or­a­cle Park. Plus, “Or­a­cle” still means “Arena” to most Bay Area fans. Call it namechange fa­tigue. It will be­come sim­ply “the Gi­ants’ ball­park.”

Or maybe be­cause the ball­park is still as cozy and cute as any, it will be called Ado­r­a­cle.

The War­riors owe a debt of grat­i­tude to Buss and the Lak­ers. Great Western Bank was swal­lowed up by an­other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, which even­tu­ally mor­phed into Chase Bank, which is help­ing build the War­riors’ arena in San Fran­cisco. So Chase Cen­ter will be the great-great-grand­son of the Great Western Fo­rum. Cha-ching.

Scott Ostler is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle colum­nist. Email: [email protected]­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @scot­tostler

Paul Chinn / The Chron­i­cle

A ban­ner was in­stalled Thurs­day bear­ing the new name of the Gi­ants’ sta­dium, Or­a­cle Park. The Red­wood City tech­nol­ogy com­pany and the Gi­ants agreed to a 20-year nam­ing-rights deal.

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