Ranking the 12 Strangest Stadium Names in Sports

Laura Depta@lauradeptaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2016

Ranking the 12 Strangest Stadium Names in Sports

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    The Chicago White Sox have gotten a lot of pushback on their new stadium naming rights deal with mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate. It does sound a bit odd rolling off the tongue, but it's far from the strangest stadium name in sports.

    The Dripping Pan is a lot more unusual, wouldn't you agree?

    The following are 12 sports facilities across the globe that—at first glance—have strange, odd or unusual names. (Note: These aren't necessarily names fans don't like, ala Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, but rather just the oddballs.)

    Perhaps they are named after a historic figure or, more likely, a sponsor. Whatever it is, the explanation might not immediately be clear for those unfamiliar with the stadium history. One thing is constant, however—all of the following names actually make sense in their own way.

    What is the strangest sports stadium name out there? Which has the least intuitive name or most unusual sponsor? Read on to find out. 

12. Guaranteed Rate Field

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    Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

    Home of: Chicago White Sox

    Again, Guaranteed Rate Field (still U.S. Cellular Field for the moment) inspired this collection of odd stadium names, but it's actually not exceptionally strange when you consider the fact that facilities like Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium and Quicken Loans Arena exist.

    Guaranteed Rate, a mortgage company, signed on to have its name adorn the White Sox's home through at least 2029, starting in November.

    For the record, Guaranteed Rate founder and CEO Victor Ciardelli III was warned about backlash. He said, per Shia Kapos of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Some people don't like change. But hopefully they'll get to know Guaranteed Rate."

11. Smoothie King Center

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    Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

    Home of: New Orleans Pelicans

    New Orleans' NBA team played in the New Orleans Arena until 2014 when the facility naming rights were sold to Smoothie King for 10 years and an estimated $40 million.  

    Considering there are other stadiums named after restaurants or grocery stores—Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in British Columbia, for instance—this isn't the weirdest name ever.

    Then again, smoothies? It's not exactly a food item generally associated with typical sports concession stands.

10. KFC Yum! Center

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    Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

    Home of: Louisville basketball

    In 2010, Yum! Brands Inc. bought the naming rights to a new, multipurpose facility in Louisville, Kentucky. The deal cost $13.5 million for 10 years.

    Fast food sponsors aren't unheard of in the sports stadium department—a Houston Astros minor league affiliate plays at Whataburger Field and the Boise State basketball team plays at Taco Bell Arena.

    What is a bit odd about this guy is the Yum! part. It could read pretty strangely if folks aren't aware that Yum! is the parent company of KFC. You know, like KFC is just very proud of how good its chicken tastes. 

9. Tony Macaroni Arena

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    Home of: Livingston FC

    In 2015, the home of Scottish football club Livingston FC changed the name of its home turf from Energy Assets Arena to Tony Macaroni Arena. Fans also continue to call it by its original name, Almondvale Stadium.

    This is just another food name, really. Tony Macaroni is apparently a pizza and pasta restaurant chain in Scotland. But add in that quirky rhyming that makes "Tony Macaroni" sound like a character in a children's book and, yea, it's pretty strange.

    From a Daily Record report: "Fans up and down the land thought someone was 'takin' the pizza' but we can confirm that Scottish football now has one of the most preposterously-named venues in the world game."

8. Talking Stick Resort Arena

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    Home of: Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury

    In 2014, the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury reached a deal with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to rename the US Airways Center after the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

    The name is certainly unusual at first glance but makes perfect sense when the background is understood.

    The Indian community had already been a major Suns sponsor. According to Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal, the new name could help the resort compete with other Native American casinos in the area.

7. Scotiabank Saddledome

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    Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

    Home of: Calgary Flames

    In 2010, the Calgary Flames' home arena was renamed Scotiabank Saddledome. (Its original name was Olympic Saddledome, its original purpose being the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.)

    There are many domes in sports, but not many arenas dubbed "saddledomes." It sounds strange, but if you look at the Flames' home, it's easy to see how the name originated. The concave shape of the roof looks a lot like a horse's saddle.

    Historian Harry Sanders said, per Dave Dormer of the Calgary Sun: "It just stands out. By coincidence, not design, it completely captures Calgary's self image, it's a building that expresses the look of a saddle, it's on the Stampede Grounds, which has been the fairgrounds in Calgary since 1889 when it was first acquired."

6. Welcome Stadium

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    Home of: Dayton football

    The University of Dayton football team has played at Welcome Stadium since 1974.

    That's kind of cool, right? And yet, according to the official football website, "The 'Welcome' is not a greeting, but honors the late Percival Welcome, longtime director of athletics for the Dayton Public Schools."

    So, it sounds like an intentionally hospitable name (which would be very odd indeed), but Welcome Stadium is simply a facility named after an important person in the history of Dayton sports.

5. Mend-A-Hose Jungle

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    Home of: Castleford Tigers Rugby League Football Club

    In 2013, the Castleford Tigers of rugby's European Super League gave their stadium a new name: the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

    Mend-A-Hose is an interesting sponsor, to start. It's a hydraulics company based in the UK that deals in, well, hoses. But really, what's odd about this stadium name is not its sponsor but its label. The stadium was previously called "The Jungle" until corporate sponsorship turned it into the Probiz Coliseum and, later, the Wish Communications Stadium. 

    Castleford Tigers Commercial Director Mark Grattan said, per Joe Strange of Mail Online: "As part of our search for a new stadium naming rights sponsor, we were looking for somebody who shared our desire to reinstate the name 'The Jungle,' a hugely popular name amongst our fans, and we are absolutely delighted that Mend-A-Hose wanted the same."

4. University of Phoenix Stadium

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Home of: Arizona Cardinals

    At first glance, the University of Phoenix Stadium doesn't sound weird at all—but as NFL fans are likely aware, it is not actually the home of the University of Phoenix football team, as its name would suggest.

    No, the University of Phoenix—a for-profit college—is merely the sponsor of a stadium that houses a professional football team. The university bought the naming rights to the Arizona Cardinals' new stadium around the time of its opening in 2006.

    This one is strange in that it could be pretty confusing.

3. Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium

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    Home of: The Andhra cricket team

    The Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam, India—just ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium for short—looks to house "one of the best batting pitches in the country," according to ESPNcricinfo.com.

    Why is its name strange? Naming stadiums after people is not that unusual (Ralph Wilson Stadium, Lambeau Field), but it's not every day you see an actual doctor title as part of a name. That, and it's just a really, really long name for a stadium.

2. Hunky Dorys Park

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    Home of: Drogheda United

    Irish football club Drogheda United plays its home matches at Hunky Dorys Park. Formerly United Park, the stadium was renamed in 2010.

    The stadium name is obviously quite similar to the phrase "hunky-dory," which is slang, according to Dictionary.com, for "about as well as one could wish or expect; satisfactory; fine; OK." This Hunky Dory, however, refers to a snack crisp from Largo Foods.

    The name is unusual because it probably incites a jolly phrase is the minds of many, but really it's just a nod to another food sponsor.

1. The Dripping Pan

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    Home of: Lewes FC

    English football club Lewes FC has played its home matches at The Dripping Pan since 1885. That is absolutely, definitely not a typical name for a sports facility.

    According to the Sussex Express: "The origins of the Mountfield Road venue are a mystery. A favorite theory has it starting out as a medieval salt pan linked to the nearby Priory; others have surmised that it was a monastic fish farm."

    Regarding the name, according to stadiumDB.com: "The brick-wooden Clubhouse has been on the maps since the 18th century, when the stadium was nothing but excavated whole with grassy slopes around. This shape earned it the name of The Dripping Pan."

    A sports venue that is well over 100 years old with a curious name and murky history—that is the strangest thing on this list, no doubt.


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