Selling our souls to the corporate devil

Renaming our stadiums has become the American way. One by one, we’ve become lemmings, following along and taking the plunge from tradition for the sake of a dollar. And though I believed some landmarks to be safe, I was wrong. They are safe for the moment, but will succumb in time. For the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, that time has come. This historical landmark is being offered to the devil, and it disgusts me.

I can’t even count the times I’ve stood outside that entrance, looking up at the torch and Olympic rings, and reading its name in multicolored lettering. The surrounding neighborhood continued to change, but the venue stood tall and constant in tradition. With the City of Los Angeles now selling the naming rights in order to generate funds for renovation, it’s a severe blow to the heart, along with the deprivation of something we’ve always claimed as our own. It was all an illusion, and we were wrong. The Coliseum, in fact, belongs to the highest bidder who is willing to give it a name and not ask for control.

In January, the University of Southern California offered to individually fund the Coliseum renovation project, and the proposal was met with rejection. The commission wanted total control, and would have easily pocketed any donation, but isn’t willing to enter into a partnership. So they instead turn to corporate America, looking to profit as a billboard, while maintaining the decision making powers. It’s cheap, and it’s wrong. And for the commission and city, I am angry and ashamed.

In the typical arrogance of an Angelino, I felt some type of immunity. I felt others could sell out, but we wouldn’t. The Angels play at Edison field, and the Lakers and Clippers in Staples Center, but the Rose Bowl and Coliseum clutched history and tradition. Other BCS bowls danced with the devil, making the corporate name bigger than the bowl itself. But in Pasadena, it was different. They didn’t become the “Citi Rose Bowl”. They are the Pasadena Rose Bowl, presented by Citi. There’s a difference. They didn’t move their traditional game, because FOX bought the BCS package. They walked the traditional path, continuing to air on abc. I guess it was that type of power display that led me to believe that Los Angeles football tradition was invincible. And to now see us on our knees, for the first time, shows that we’re just as weak as everyone else.

Phase one is complete. And after witnessing sports in Europe, the progression is bound to bring us to a point where we’re selling ad spaces on player uniforms. It’s sickening. Goodbye Los Angeles Coliseum. Welcome, Tampax Stadium. In todays world, nothing is sacred.

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~ by Anthony on June 25, 2008.

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