What's in a Name?
There isn't a single good reason why the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors play in "Scotiabank Arena".
There are 800 million of them.
It's no secret that companies pay millions and millions of dollars to name sports arenas. That's not news.
But the latest company to do so, Amazon, is going to generate some serious headlines this week, and not because of how much they paid.
(The amount hasn't yet been disclosed, but it's a safe bet the figure will be jaw-droppingly large.)
Amazon just bought the rights to the Seattle arena formerly known as KeyArena. (Fun fact: Key Bank hasn't paid for the naming rights since 2010, but it was too cost-prohibitive to change the signage until a new sponsor was found.)
So.... Amazon Arena, then?
It's going to be called Climate Pledge Arena.
I'm not sure what's the bigger flex for Jeff Bezos, spending untold millions to buy the naming rights for a sports stadium and then NOT naming it after the company he founded, or announcing the big news via his Instagram page:
Amazon's Climate Pledge isn't new. They announced it was co-founding The Climate Pledge last September, and announced a $2 billion Climate Pledge initial funding commitment just three days ago.
But I'm not sure anybody expected a sports arena to come next.
Amazon followed up "Uncle Jeff's" Instagram post with a blog highlighting how Bezos is putting his (giant piles of) money where his mouth is when it comes to putting the environment first.
In addition to the fact that Climate Pledge Arena is expected to be the first net-zero-carbon certified arena in the world, it will also:
Use 100% Renewable energy -- zero fossil fuels -- to power the building;
Generate zero waste;
Use no plastics by 2024;
Source 75% of the food sold from local farmers & producers;
Have NHL Seattle & WNBA tickets that double as free public transit passes;
And my personal favourite...
Capture rainwater and use it to make the NHL ice surface.
Amazon, with its trillion-dollar market capitalization, can afford to spend millions and millions on naming rights that won't directly drive any brand awareness for the mega-retailer.
But companies buy naming rights to drive awareness.... and Amazon is using their cash to drive awareness to an issue that affects us all.
The idea is remarkable.
The actual name? Not so much.
But with the new name, we'll be reminded of the need to take care of our planet every time Seattle's NHL team hits home ice.
So maybe it'll grow on us.
P.S. You can watch the video announcement below...