It was the lead story in the Seattle Times sports section this morning for good reason – the University of Washington and Alaska Airlines have agreed to a $41 million, 10-year deal to rename Husky Stadium.
Well, I guess Husky Stadium will still be in the name, but it will now be formally known as Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.
In that respect, it’s also comparable to the home court for the Huskies’ basketball teams, which is formally called Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Alaska Airlines paid $3.5 million for the naming rights for the arena in a five-year deal that started in 2011.
The Husky Stadium deal, according to the Times, is the biggest of its kind in college football. It’s also important to note that more than half of Alaska Airlines’ investment is earmarked for student-athlete scholarships and their welfare, which is nice to hear.
OK, those are the particulars, and for a change, I’m not going to rip on the Dawgs simply because I’m a Coug who nonetheless still hopes you go 0-12 this year to match your record in 2008. What’s better than being a Coug and watching the Dawgs go 0-12? Watching you do it twice, and from what I understand, you might have a shot at that this season.
I just don’t like the idea of Husky Stadium being renamed in any way at all. It’s Husky Stadium period, always has been, always should be, but now we find out that that’s not the case.
I’m fine with professional teams naming their stadiums Qwest Field and CenturyLink Field, for instance. I don’t even care if the Seattle Storm has “Bing” across the front of their uniforms, or that the Sounders have “Xbox” on theirs, though if you twist my arm – and you wouldn’t have to twist it much – I kind of think that’s ridiculous, too. They’re the Storm and the Sounders, not the Bingers or the Xboxers.
But college programs in general and messing with the name of Husky Stadium in particular? Nope, don’t like that at all.
You can argue that it’s another revenue source that helps run the athletic department, and I guess I’d nod my head and say: “Fair point.”
But don’t athletic departments in the Pac-12 already make enough money from TV contracts? And just for the sake of the argument, let’s say they don’t – still, does everything have to be for sale?
Now then, as is usually the case on the afternoon show, I’m going to be a hypocrite, or if not a hypocrite, I’m going to talk out of both sides of my mouth.
I’ve wanted to see the name of Martin Stadium changed for 10 years now, ever since I heard from 1968 WSU alum Gene Miller that Clarence D. Martin graduated from the University of Washington in 1906. Martin was our state’s governor from 1932-40, but to have our stadium named after a Husky is just plain wrong.
I’m not saying we should take a page out of Boise State’s book – the Broncos play at Albertsons Stadium now – and change the name of Martin Stadium to Rosauers Stadium.
But I’d advocate a change to Paul Allen Stadium if he wanted to make a donation to the school he went to for two years. Or better yet, the San Diego Chargers once named their stadium after a sportswriter, Jack Murphy, so how about changing Martin Stadium to Bob Robertson Stadium?
Anyway, I grew up watching Sonny Sixkiller from our seats in section 7 at Husky Stadium. I listened to Keith Jackson and Bruce King call it Husky Stadium. You drove across 520 – it was called the new bridge back then – and you looked over and saw Husky Stadium.
That’s the way it’s always been – until now, when Bob Rondeau will call the games from Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.
I suppose it’s a classic case of doing what I always do, making a big deal out of something microscopic in the scheme of things. Besides, it’s the way of the world, and I should know by now that nothing’s sacred anymore.
But Husky Stadium is Husky Stadium, just like Hec Edmundson Pavilion will always be Hec Edmundson Pavilion to me – and when it isn’t, it’s Hec Ed, not anything else.
I guess it’s pretty rich of me to say these things because I’m pretty sure I have a price – if Doofer’s, my favorite sports bar in Renton, paid me $500 a month to wear their T-shirts, I’d probably do it.
And if the Newport Hills Mustard Seed wanted to sponsor my columns, I’d sign up for that too – since leaving the Post-Intelligencer, I’ve misplaced what I had left of my dwindling supply of journalistic scruples and morals.
But some things should not be for sale, and Husky Stadium is one of them.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for SeattlePI.com and KitsapSun.com. You can reach Jim at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.