Now that White Sox fans have let the grieving cycle do its work, and now that we know that snarky tweets from other #brands didn’t literally destroy the White Sox, let’s briefly circle back to the U.S. Cellular Field name change.
As expected, both parties involved were prepared for the backlash. The Daily Herald’s Kerry Lester talked to Guaranteed Rate founder Victor Ciardelli, who seems to be enjoying it:
As news of the change triggered the trending Twitter hashtag #BetterSoxStadium, the founder and CEO of the mortgage lending company with the big red down-pointing arrow as a logo says he's actually excited about the negative reaction.
"It helps build brand awareness for us," says Ciardelli, a Hinsdale resident. "It's spectacular. Who would have thought the down arrow would create such a story?"
As somebody who didn’t know Guaranteed Rate existed before Wednesday, he ain’t wrong. That said, if you still want to hold onto Ciardelli as one of the villains in this tale, he says the down arrow in the logo isn’t going anywhere. The prophecy from broleary may come true:
(Also, the Daily Herald story has a picture of him before the first pitch, jersey tucked into jeans and everything.)
While the Daily Herald focused on the immediate implications of the relationship, Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune fast-forwards to the end, hitting on something that hit me on the podcast — a change at the end of the White Sox’ contract with Illinois Sports Facilities Authority foreshadows the next stadium haggling round.
Basically, for the last three years of the contract that runs through 2029, the White Sox released the ISFA from having to pay for renovations to the stadium when at least 75 percent of other stadiums have them (that’s how the Sox got those new video boards). While that sounds like a victory for the state, it also allows the Sox to allow the stadium to fall out of shape by the time their obligation to remain there is up.
As Rosenthal explains:
Flashing forward to those late years of the White Sox deal to play at Guaranteed Rate Field, it's easy to see why the ballclub wouldn't care so much about upgrades.
The team will be eyeing something much bigger and much better. That's when deals are cut.
We don't know who will own the team then. We don't know the future financial shape of Chicago, Illinois and those of us who live and work here. But we know the debate over what comes next and who foots the bill will be in full swing.
The ballpark at 35th Street and Shields Avenue will be called a fixer-upper, a money pit. Call this a prelude to that.