Fan Noise - "Qwest For Fire"

Getting the naming rights for the stadium formerly known as Seahawks isn't just about the Benjamins. It means much, much more.

Even before the first slab of concrete was laid at the new Stadium, Paul Allen’s First and Goal company was searching fruitlessly for a corporation to buy into the naming rights.

The Qwest is over. Haahaa.

It wasn’t that big of a surprise that it took so long. Seahawks Stadium was built during the dot com glory years, and opened in one of the biggest market recessions in history. During the recession belt tightening and unemployment, especially in the Pacific Northwest where it was felt the strongest, getting a company to loosen the purse strings had to be pretty tough.

Not to mention the fact that the Seahawks, as a commodity, wasn’t generating much fan buzz around town. It was a rare occasion that the games were sold out so getting the corporate logo plastered on the TV as relatively free advertising wasn’t going to happen. Fans were much more enamored with the OTHER sports team across the street. No one was quite sold on professional football in this town, after so many years of neglect. Hard to attract a buyer when the product flat out stunk, and no one cared.

Things are a bit different now. Ever since our quarterback, in a not so rare show of bravado, voiced his opinion during the coin toss leading up to the overtime period, there has been a sea of change around town about our boys in blue. The off season hasn’t lessened it, in fact, with all of the free agency signings and various talking heads picking the Seahawks as the team to beat in 2004, the buzz has slowly been turned into a quiet roar.

Make no mistake, this isn’t the kind of buzz generated during the Seahawks heyday, but it certainly isn’t nearly as quiet as the bottom feeding seasons we’ve been used to.

It seems that since the pro team across the street has begun the inevitable slide towards suckitude, and the local basketball team is wallowing in yet another rebuilding year due to a lack of a productive big guy, the time is ripe for the Seahawks to rightfully reclaim their crown as the team to watch. They used to have it, but coughed it up in 1995 to Edgar Martinez’ double that scored Ken Griffey Jr. to beat the Yankees.

So, poised on the precipice of greatness, this is the perfect time for a company like Qwest to swoop in and become partners to the next big thing. It’s simply another indication that everyone from the practice squad to the disgruntled fans out on the street to jump on the bandwagon and believe. It’s simply a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Understandably, there are some fans (myself included) that will mourn the loss of the name “Seahawks Stadium”. It was a perfect description of the place. It was the team’s fortress. Undefeated at home during 2003. Unsullied by corporate greed. But, the reality of it all is, corporate sponsorship is a fact of life in pro sports. Anything can be bought, for the right price.

It could’ve been worse. It could’ve been an embarrassment like Enron.

In our hearts, it will always remain “Seahawks Stadium”, and that’s something they can never take away.

Glenn Geiss writes the "Fan Noise" column for Seahawks.NET every Thursday. Feel free to send him feedback at Top Stories