America's 9 Worst Music Venue Names: When Shoddy Sponsorship Deals Embarrass an Entire City

Categories: Lists

The newly-named 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre in Tampa: Is this the gold standard in shitty corporate-sponsored venue names?

​When it comes to corporate-sponsorship of venue names, Phoenix is blessed.

Our basketball team plays in U.S. Airways Center, named for a successful local airline. Our hockey team plays in Arena -- anything with a dot com at the end sounds so modern! Our football team plays in the University of Phoenix Stadium, which might make some people think the Cardinals share the space with a college team, although U of P hasn't yet fielded a football squad to play for the glory of their mascot: Trisha, The Fightin' Single Mother With a GED Who Desperately Want To Better Herself.

It's not just venues, either. Our biggest golf event is now called the Waste Management Open, named for the universally beloved company which operates the largest trucking fleet in the trash industry. Garbagemen everywhere can now proudly be associated with Phoenix and Tiger Woods.

Yesterday we found out that the former Desert Sky Pavilion will now be called the Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion. That's a suave name -- it really rolls off the tongue, don't you think?

Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion... It sounds so sophisticated and exotic, like someplace in France.

Believe it or not, not every city is not as lucky as Phoenix. In fact, there are several places where the corporate-sponsored name of a venue is an embarrassment to the entire town. Here are nine of the worst.

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9. Gexa Energy Pavilion

Dallas, Texas

20,000 capacity outdoor concert hall

A few months ago this venue would have been higher on the list -- until January the big outdoor amphitheater in Dallas was known by the awful name Center. It's not often a name that sounds like something you'd cough hard to clear out of your throat is an improvement but this is one of those times.

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8. Papa John's Cardinal Stadium

Louisville, Kentucky

Home of the Papa John's University of Louisville Cardinals

The University of Louisville is very lucky to count super-booster John H. Schnatter, founder of Papa John's pizza, among its supporters. He's a very wealthy and generous man who has given much to the school. Unfortunately, he's also a classless buffoon who started his really shitty pizza-selling business by selling his Camaro (no joke) and saddled the school's fancy new stadium with this tacky name. But what else would you expect from a guy who couldn't handle working for Pizza Hut?

The stadium is a bit of a stretch to make this list since it's mostly a football field, but it has hosted concerts by Kenny Chesney and 'N Sync -- both acts fitting nicely with the white trash motif.

7. The Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center
Columbus, Ohio
20,000 capacity sports and entertainment arena

I'm not sure what's worse: having your arena named after a bankrupt chain of cut-rate department stores or having the tacky-ass owner of that chain also attach his own name to the title to make it super long. An Ohio State University at Columbus (a.k.a. Franklin County Community College) should be disgusted with itself for allowing this name to be attached to the largest concert and sports venue in Ohio's capital city. So should Schottenstein. If I owned Value City I'd never want my name associated with it. Hell, I might also buy some cool small company and tell people I owned that to launder my name and reputation.

6. Amway Center
Orlando, Florida
19,000 capacity sports and entertainment arena

Amway is a "network marketing" (read: scam where you have to sell stuff to your friends) company, which is pretty trashy. However, it's also the name of the company owned by its primary tenants, the Orlando Magic basketball team, which makes it a little more understandable. Also, it's nice and short, which is always the way to go with corporate sponsored names -- people grouse a lot less about "Ford" or "AT&T" anything than they do some 35-character monstrosity.

5. Bi-Lo Center
Greenville South Carolina
15,000 capacity indoor sports and entertainment arena

Honestly, The Bi-Lo Center, named for a Southern grocery store chain, would be higher but for the fact that the company that bought the naming rights is actually a grocery store. In the grand scheme of things, that's really not that trashy. Also, this venue is in South Carolina, which is exactly the sort of place you'd expect something like this to happen. In fact, I'd be willing to bet a little money on the Wingnuts in the South Carolina legislature coming up with the bright idea to sell the naming rights to a state university to Piggly Wiggly if the price was right.

4. Jiffy Lube Live
Washington, D.C.
25,000 capacity outdoor concert hall

This giant Virginia amphitheater used to be called Nissan Pavilion before a group of Jiffy Lube franchise owners in the area banded together to buy the rights. We can only imagine the glee those greasemonkeys must have felt when their bid was accepted. "Bwahahaha! Finally we'll get the respect we deserve! These quality Japanese automobiles would be worthless were it not for our willingness to get grime under our fingernails repairing them!"

3. Comfort Dental Ampitheatre

Denver, Colorado

18,000 capacity outdoor concert hall

Bad venue names are made even worse when they're replacing something classy. This suburban Denver venue -- we'd hate to point fingers, but like many on this list it's operated by concert megapromoter Live Nation -- used to be known by the genteel handle Fiddler's Green before Coors bought the rights. That's not so bad since beer is a Colorado institution with a good reputation nationally. Now it's named for a dentist. Oof. Let's all look forward to the day when Red Rocks is renamed for a local tattoo parlor.


2. Sleep Country Amphitheater

Portland, Oregon

18,000 capacity outdoor concert hall

Sleep Country USA is "the Northwest's biggest mattress retailer" so it makes sense that any act coming through town would want to be associated with their fine products. Oh, what's that you say, "sleeping" and "paying good money to be entertained" don't go hand in hand? Oh well.

1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre.jpg

1. 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre 

Tampa Florida

20,000 capacity outdoor concert hall

Leave it to Florida to blow everyone else out of the water with a name so tacky we imagine it grates on everyone who lives in the area. The 1-800-ASK GARY Ampitheatre's name comes from a lawyer referral service and will be in place at least two more years. The worst part about it? The venue used to be known by the comparatively regal "Ford Ampitheatre." The puzzling thing is that the venue is on the Florida State fairgrounds which should make an elected official somewhere in government responsible for this shameful name. Can't this be corrected by recall election?

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I believe that you have a very Shitty attitude about sponsors. For example, the BI-LO Center. Why do you have such a problem with that ? Maybe someone made a Shitty decision in hiring you !



Orlando Magic owns Amway. Man that's hilarious. Yeah, a basketball team owns a 9.3 billion dollar 51 year old company. It's the other way around. Get your facts straight and do something more than sit behind a computer and rag on things you can't change.


Here in Ohio, we also have the "Lifestyles Community Pavilion," which unfortunately is not sponsored by Lifestyles brand condoms, as that would make it somewhat less lame and bland.


Waste Management brought the "Phoenix" back to the Open. It is now the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Also, Tiger don't play dat.


What a name! Can you see the "Warpfest 2011 at the Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion"? That just does not rock.

so true.
so true.

Hey look, Martin Cizmar finally wrote an article he knows something about....people chooing words poorly. This is so much better then anything I have seen him write in the past, mostly music related articles, which he knows nothing about. This could be a step in the right direction for the new times....let Mr Cizmar write stories about stuff like this, and hire someone that knows about all different types music to handle the music related writing.

That would be great.


Did he say something bad about your shitty band, or something?

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