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October 27, 2011
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October 31, 2011
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Pagel Field at Washington High School in Phoenix

Naming rights associated with stadiums, fields and other sports venues began in 1912 with a real estate company in Boston, Fenway Realty, securing a deal to attach itself to a baseball stadium, known since as Fenway Park.

Over the years, billions of dollars have been spent on naming rights at venues around the world. In many cases, a good investment generating tremendous exposure for a brand.

Within an hour of here, you can find Chase Field, U.S Airways Center, University of Phoenix Stadium, Wells Fargo Arena and Tim’s Toyota Center.

But -- all bought and paid for.

It’s the names associated with venues that have not been paid for in cash that are the ones that have stories behind them and have a higher meaning.

I recently attended the naming ceremony of Pagel Field at Washington High School in Phoenix, recognizing long-time teacher and coach Tom Pagel, his late wife Rose and his five sons who all excelled as scholar athletes at the school, Karl, Bruce, Mike, Rick and Ross. It meant something because I grew up with the Pagels, playing Little League baseball and going to grade school and high school together. The Pagel involvement at WHS covered five decades.

There are thousands of stores like this one.

• Kibler Field at Horizon High School, named after Eric Kibler, the only varsity baseball coach in the school’s history. His teams have won five state titles since he launched the program in 1981.

• Jerry Dawson Field at Chaparral High School. Dawson coached baseball there for 37 years and is Arizona’s career leader in coaching victories.

• At Winslow High School in northeast Arizona, the Bulldogs play on Vargas Field. War hero and standout athlete Jay Vargas, is a highly decorated, now-retired United States Marine Corp colonel who earned a Medal of Honor in Viet Nam, among many other honors and awards.

• At Arizona State University, you can step onto Frank Kush Field or Ned Wulk Court, both legendary coaches. In Flagstaff, there is the Rolle Activity Center.

Almost every town has at least one. What other names do you know that didn’t buy their way onto a sports venue?

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio


  1. Len Gutman says:

    Tony Gwynn Stadium at San Diego State!

    The Dean Smith Center at UNC.

  2. C E says:

    Bushong Field at Washington Elementary School in Phoenix AZ

  3. And last Friday I was at Bill Shepherd Field in Prescott, Ariz. Bill was a Prescott physician and long-time team doctor for the Badgers. THAT’s local history.

  4. I know I love my hometown, but I’m a big fan of the name Candlestick Park – did you know it’s because the stadium is located in a California State Park where the 49ers stadium (currently) play. And it truly is a Candlestick Point that juts beautifully out into San Francisco Bay. If they move down to Santa Clara, all bets are off. P.S. My partner likes the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, but I think we all know why.Cheers, David

  5. I visited another: Pima High School in southeast Arizona, where the Roughriders (football) play on Hubbard Field, named after former Superintendent Edd Hubbard.

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