Letters to the Editors
Ice Palace gets a new name, but it's so boring
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 7, 2002
Re: Ice Palace renamed St. Pete Times Forum, Sept. 4.
No offense to the Times, which is the best newspaper, but St. Pete Times Forum? How b-o-r-i-n-g. I'll probably still refer to it as the Ice Palace (the way I still refer to Tropicana Field as the Thunderdome.)
Arenas and stadiums don't have fun or exciting names anymore: Staples Arena, Raymond James Stadium, MCI Center, Target Center, etc. It's getting ridiculous.
A newspaper coup
Congratulations to the Times on the coup regarding acquisition of the naming rights to the former Ice Palace. As a subscriber to both the Tampa and St. Petersburg papers since 1987, I have found it interesting to watch our local "newspaper wars," but this has to be your proudest moment and a true "gotcha" to your rival across the bay.
I noted the Wednesday Tribune did not have the first word regarding this major story. Giving them the benefit of the doubt that you kept the story closely held for the Times, I again noted on Thursday no mention of this coup. How embarrassing and disingenuous of them. You must be thrilled!
A victory for commercialism
Congratulations on the name change. Ice Palace, although it sounded good, didn't quite depict the commercialism that has become the standard for everything we hold sacred these days.
You probably realized that the only people who would be thrilled by uttering the words "St. Pete Times Forum" would be you and whoever is the recipient of the money it took to bring this about.
But what's in a name? Tropicana Field . . . makes you want a glass of orange juice. And what's next? You could always buy the Bucs and not only change the name of Raymond James Stadium to the "St. Pete Times Stadium," but the Buccaneers could be called the "Newsboys." Then you could rename all the surrounding streets after the sections in the paper.
You've got the best newspaper in the area, but come on guys, isn't this just a little ego-bent?
A disappointing move
I have always lauded the accomplishments and integrity of the St. Petersburg Times. Even though the Times is a business, I have always felt that some important quality, some higher purpose perhaps, separates the Times from the rest of corporate America. This separation has diminished. Your decision to put your business name on the Ice Palace, a public forum, is greatly disappointing for two reasons.
The first is that yet another of our community forums has been "purchased" by private interests. To sell the name of a community's building is to diminish the community character of the place. The second disappointment is that this was done by the St. Petersburg Times, a community institution that now seems more like just another business.
Plans will backfire
Re: Ice Palace renamed St. Pete Times Forum.
Allow me to clue you in on how normal people think: Just because we go to a concert at a place that is named after your newspaper does not mean we will subscribe to it. On the contrary, I know of several people, myself included, who are so disgusted with the name change that we have resolved to not buy your paper. The Ice Palace is located in Tampa. Your paper is in another city. I know you serve the Tampa Bay area, but the Ice Palace is not in the bay.
You have our baseball team and now you took a great name and made it another Houlihan's Stadium. Your self-promotion will surely backfire.
I applaud your decision to purchase the naming rights to the Ice Palace, since the cash it will pump into the team will enable it to make further improvements. But the "St. Pete Times Forum"?
It's boring. It's not descriptive of the venue. Out-of-towners will get lost looking for it. It could be construed as a cross-bay snub. And worse for you, everyone will ignore it and continue to call it the Ice Palace.
Let me suggest an alternative: Name the square outside the Ice Palace instead. Then you could have "The Ice Palace at St. Petersburg Times Square," the latter portion quickly entering the local lexicon as simply "Times Square" -- something you can actually market, if only on New Year's Eve.
Give it some thought before laying out wads of cash to market the unmarketable.
Have a naming contest
How could you make such a drastic name change to that facility without regard to the feelings of the public? "The Ice Palace" was a great name and appropriate for one of its primary functions. This new name you have given to it is uninspiring, unexciting and uninteresting. I, for one, will not be using the name.
Since you were not able to come up with a name that excites people, why not have a naming contest? Certainly we can find a name that would attract more interest and support than that.
To each city its own name
I was not surprised but was appalled that anyone would name a sports facility in Tampa with the name of another city's newspaper. Tampa and St. Petersburg are two entirely different cities, and as a resident of St. Petersburg I took tremendous offense when our baseball team was inappropriately named the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays." For that reason I have never attended a single game nor do I intend to.
If the people in Tampa want their city's name on a baseball team, let them pay for the stadium as they mistakenly did for the Bucs. Now the St. Petersburg Times has, for reasons that I fail to understand, named a Tampa sports facility "The St. Pete Times Forum." I will never attend another event in the Ice Palace and will be canceling my Times subscription.
Now they know how it feels
To those Tampa residents complaining about the naming of the St. Pete Times Forum, now you know how we felt when the St. Petersburg-located Devil Rays were named the Tampa Bay Devil Rays!
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