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Starbucks could name a sports stadium

The coffee giant has applied to register its name as a trademark for an athletic facility, prompting speculation it could join the list of restaurants putting their names on arenas.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Pumpkin Spice Stadium? Nitro Cold Brew Arena?

Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee giant, earlier this month applied to trademark its name for “stadium and training facilities for sports and entertainment activities,” suggesting the company is planning to buy stadium or arena naming rights for a professional or college team.

It’s not certain what arena or stadium the company is considering attaching its name to. Seattle is getting a National Hockey League expansion franchise next season, but the Seattle Kraken will play in Climate Pledge Arena, which was named by another local giant, Amazon.

A company spokesperson has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Private companies have been naming sports stadiums and arenas for at least a century, since a local real estate company called Fenway Realty named the Major League Baseball stadium in Boston in 1912.  

At least a half-dozen major college and professional sports stadiums and arenas have restaurant company names—including Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, named by Hard Rock International; Little Caesars Arena in Detroit for the NBA’s Pistons and the NHL’s Red Wings; and the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans for the New Orleans Pelicans.

KFC and Yum Brands have attached their names to the KFC Yum Center in Louisville and Dunkin’ Donuts’ name is on an arena in Providence.

Generally, companies name stadiums in their hometown, though not always, and so speculation has centered on Seattle.

That city is a speculated home for a National Basketball Association franchise, either one through expansion or a team from another city.

Starbucks potentially helping with that effort could help ease local pain surrounding the ownership of the then-Seattle Supersonics by the company’s founder, Howard Schultz, who bought the team in 2001 and sold it five years later to a group that moved the team to Oklahoma City.

Either way, people have been having fun with the possibility of a Starbucks-named stadium on Twitter, mocking the chain’s ubiquity:



Or its baristas’ penchant for misspelling names:


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