How Sox Park almost had a Household name

August 24, 2010

Seven years have passed since Comiskey Park–home of the White Sox–was renamed “U.S. Cellular Field” under a $68 million naming-rights deal.

Cash from the deal made some much needed improvements to pretty-up what had been the ugliest professional baseball stadium in America. But take a gander at what could have been: an improved Comiskey Park, not as the “Cell” but, perhaps, as “The House”?

Before the U.S. Cellular arrangement, the White Sox in 2001 preliminarily worked on a naming-rights deal with Household Finance Corporation. Had the deal gone through, it would have brought a slate of improvements including fixing the then-torturous rake of the upper deck. But it would have given the stadium fixes the U.S. Cellular deal didn’t, most notably giving the stadium a pedestrian-friendly, but monumental entrance at 35th Street, as seen in the image above.

Behind the entrance would have been a mall-like concession concourse. A triple…

 ...but this bit of nonsense was also proposed: a faux Chicago street with complete with fake storefronts and building facades. Foul ball...!

 I like the connection over 35th Street, however...

So what happened? Household wasn't really interested. A spokesperson told the Sun--Times back then that it was "always looking at ways to enhance the recognition of our corporate brand," but was "not interested in pursuing this opportunity."

The Sox face the Orioles tonight at the Cell.