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So I’m Hearing (Unverified) Things About Rogers Centre Naming Rights

God, I don’t want to end up looking like an asshole if the Jays end up announcing a naming rights deal and it doesn’t line up with the things I’m hearing from readers today who are claiming to be in the know — or to know somebody in the know — so let me be as clear as possible up front, I’m just passing along what a few people have been telling me, based on the things that they’ve heard. I have no idea whether it’s true!

A real journalist would take these tips and go digging around to try to verify them, rather than simply passing them on with giant grains of salt, and yet… here we are…

So, remember. Grains of salt! Don’t shoot the irresponsible messenger!

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But with that out of the way, let’s dive in. We know that the Blue Jays have been looking very seriously into selling the naming rights on the building currently called Rogers Centre — Bob Elliot reported as much last week for the Canadian Baseball Network.

Given the lucrative deal that MLSE signed with Scotiabank for rights on the for-now Air Canada Centre, this should come as no surprise. Elliott informed us that the deal was down to either RBC or TD Bank, and in the title of Elliott’s piece, though no indication was given that these are the real proposals that are out there, it was suggested that the Jays might soon be playing in the TD Dome or the RBC Centre.

Today, I tweeted this:

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Cue excitement among Jays fans! And cue nervousness among me, in case this ends up being misguided, or if the crucial part of it — the reversion to the SkyDome name — doesn’t end up being accurate!

But that’s what I was told. And since then I’ve had other readers approach me on this subject, too. I’ve now heard things like either TD Field or TD Skydome are in the works. I’ve heard dollar figures among this chatter, too; between $20 and $30 million per year (though it wasn’t specified if any of the figures I heard were Canadian or US dollar figures, which means there could be more alignment there than it seems).

Does that mean that any of this information is correct? It certainly doesn’t! And I hope by putting this out there I’m not setting anybody up for disappointment.

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On the other hand, since we know from Elliott’s report that they are negotiating the naming rights, failure to hit on a new moniker that doesn’t include the oddly beloved original name of the building is going to be disappointing for a lot of people regardless of anything I say.

People want their SkyDome back! Or, at least, a lot of them do. And what’s exciting about the possibility that a deal here might really be about to come to fruition is specifically the fact that it might really be with TD — the company that, rather than being afraid of fans dropping the corporate branding from their vocabulary when they took over the naming rights to Boston’s FleetCenter (aka Boston Garden number two), embraced the name the fans wanted and called it the TD Garden.

Whatever’s going on here, however close or far to the truth any of these “friend of a friend” messages I’m getting are going to be, if the opportunity to rename the building arises and it doesn’t end in the return of at least some form of “SkyDome,” people are not going to be pleased. This one is a total lay-up! Let’s hope it actually does come to pass.

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