Tonight may be the last hurrah for the Rose Garden Arena. At least, from a branding standpoint. After narrowing their search for a naming-rights sponsor to three companies last week, the Portland Trail Blazers declared that an announcement regarding the future of the Rose Garden will be made tomorrow, August 13th. This announcement could be anywhere from the name of the sponsor selected, to the new name of the Rose Garden outright.
The news conference will take place at 10 a.m. PST. Whomever the Blazers have selected, the new given name will not be permanent, but it will be long-lasting, and is expected to be in place for the next decade- minimum. Regardless of when the arena name is announced, be it tomorrow or a month from now, the Blazers have likely played their last game in the “Rose Garden.”
Fear not, my fellow nostalgia lovers. The Rose Garden has quite the heritage for its relatively short time in Portland, and it would be foolish for any company to commercialize the arena too heavily. There’s nothing that will upset a fanbase faster than re-naming their homecourt, “Corporate Money Center.” It is more likely that we will see a tag-on. For instance, “Cuddly Puppy Co’s Rose Garden Arena.”
For the most part, nothing will change but the name, from a fan perspective. You can still get your favorite seats in your preferred section, you can still listen to Mike Barrett try to balance out Mike Rice’s home team hoopla (with his own sometimes), and you can still watch the Blazers battle for the ‘W’ in every game. This is good news for the Blazers, who have been trying to find a naming-rights sponsor since failing to do so five years ago.
If nothing else, the coming change is indicative of Chris McGowan’s effectiveness as President of the Portland Trail Blazers. He wanted to get it done, he got it done (we collectively assume). By tomorrow, we will have a better idea of the Blazers’ new direction under his leadership that saw a major personnel house cleaning party earlier this year. The next chapter is about to unfold.