Patrick Finley: Not a state secret if Coyotes alter name

2013-07-08T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:17:14Z Patrick Finley: Not a state secret if Coyotes alter namePatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Fifteen million dollars a year can buy you a lot of things: one Circle K fountain drink for every Dutch citizen, for one, or half a season of Dwight Howard.

When Glendale agreed to give the Coyotes' new owners $15 million a year to manage Jobing.com Arena, which the city owns, it was enough to keep the NHL team there for at least another five years. (The club, which has an out clause, promised to reimburse the city millions from new revenue.)

The steep price tag wasn't enough to re-christen the team the Glendale Coyotes, but it got halfway there.

Likely after this upcoming season, the team will change its name from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Arizona Coyotes.

Which brings the Valley of the Sun's professional teams to three squads named after the state, and one named after the hub of the nation's 13th largest metro area.

(It also proves what Valley residents have known for years: that Phoenix is really a Suns town.)

When the Cardinals moved from St. Louis in 1988, they played under the Phoenix banner for six years - despite hosting games in Tempe - before being christened the Arizona Cardinals.

They now play in Glendale, at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Downtown, the Arizona Diamondbacks play one block from the Phoenix Suns.

Think about it long enough, and your head will throb.

Many teams christened in the last generation have used their states' names, a nod to regionalism and the television deals that come with them.

The Colorado Avalanche, which moved from Quebec in 1995, shares an arena with the Denver Nuggets. The Colorado Rockies, established in 1993, and the Denver Broncos play in downtown parks less than 2 miles away.

Many team names are outright lies.

The Cowboys haven't played home games in Dallas since 1971.

The New York Giants have called New Jersey home since 1976. The Jets joined them in 1984, playing games in New Jersey at Giants Stadium, a double-whammy of mistaken identify, before the two teams built MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., three years ago.

When the 49ers move into Levi's Stadium in 2014, they'll play not in San Francisco, but 40 miles south in Santa Clara, while keeping their original name.

Regionalism can be confusing, too.

The Carolina Panthers play in Charlotte, N.C., while the Carolina Hurricanes are in a completely different market, three hours away, in Raleigh.

At least Tampa Bay - with the Rays in St. Petersburg but the Buccaneers and Lightning in Tampa - keeps it within a reasonable drive. Just cross the almost 5-mile-long Howard Frankland Bridge; if you get to the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, named after the former Bucs star, you've gone too far.

The Golden State Warriors' arena shares a parking lot with the stadium used by the Oakland Raiders and Athletics.

As my parents can attest, playing favorites between twins is a losing proposition. So Minnesota's four pro teams use the state name, though three - all but the Wild - play in Minneapolis, not across the Mississippi River in St. Paul.

So what's in a name? For sports teams, not much.

Shakespeare would agree.

Would the Rose City's team smell as sweet if it was named the Oregon Trail Blazers?

Contact reporter Patrick Finley at pfinley@azstarnet.com or 573-4658. On Twitter @PatrickFinley

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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