The stadium formerly known as Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome” (MOAF@HHHM) obviously screamed out for shorthand, or a nickname. So most of us just called it “The Dome,” much to the chagrin of the MOAF@HHHM brand managers.
“The Dome” was a bite-sized and descriptive label, so it worked better for ordinary people. “Metrodome,” “Thunderdome,” or “Homerdome” were occasionally in the mix, but usually it was simply “The Dome.”
But now that “The Dome” has been popped in spectacularly anticlimactic fashion, stadium officials are focusing on naming the replacement. The corporate auction over naming rights probably will lead to a name that will be a mouthful, and therefore probably will be replaced by the masses with a new nickname.
So what will we use as a shorthand reference for our new sports palace? I’m hoping the nickname will be derived from the nature of the structure itself, as “The Dome” was. When the shorthand is derived from the corporate name – see “the bank” and “TCF Bank Stadium” – that strikes me as selling out to The Man. Taxpayers paid significantly more to finance the stadium than the corporate sponsor, so I hate for the nickname to give the suits all the credit.
Like “The Dome,” the new nickname should be 1) concise and simple and 2) descriptive of a differentiating feature of the building. Here are few options to spark community brainstorming:
- The Ship. We’re told the architects were going for a Viking ship look with their design. Therefore, calling the stadium “The Ship” could help architecturally challenged citizens like me appreciate the method behind the madness. The park to the west then could be the Ship Yard, The Dock, or something corny like that. To get more authentic, we could call it the Knarr, Karve, or Faerring. But that’s probably too Scandi-geeky, even for Minnesota.
- The Hipsterdome. Minneapolis hipsters can’t like anything that the masses like, such as pro football stadia. If they sided with the masses, they wouldn’t be hipsters. However, if the non-hipster masses express disapproval for the controversial modernist design, hipster contrarians would feel compelled to embrace it to show that they alone can see the genius in the design. In that case, “Hipsterdome” would give Minneapolis hipsters ownership, or blame, depending on your opinion of the design.
- The Oops. I kind of like the unusual design, but I’m not sure it’s beautiful. It’s asymmetrical form is reminiscent of everyone’s first “oops” pottery project. It’s misshapen and lopsided, but, doggone it, it’s our misshapen and lopsided. For some, dubbing it “The Oops” would represent a celebration of the beauty of bold non-conformity. For others, “The Oops” would serve as a populist critique of the fancy pants architect, who clearly is “not from here.”
- The Cheeseball. Get it? You know, because it looks like a cheeseball after the guests have hacked it up? You seriously don’t see that??!
- The Sunporch. Our new stadium will have the largest transparent roof in the world, and the largest casement windows in the world. In other words, the Wilfs are constructing the world’s largest sunporch. You know, one of those pre-fab transparent porches that are always tempting pale, Vitamin D-deprived Minnesotans at the Home Shows? In the middle of a brutal winter, what midwesterner doesn’t want to spend time battling Seasonal Affective Disorder in “The Sunporch?”
- The Artless Museum. The Vikings stadium design seems derivative of the Weisman Art Musem and Walker Art Museum, so “The Artless Museum” would help people understand the differentiation among those three buildings. That is, this is the chunky building that contains no art. “The Artless Museum” also would serve as commentary on the quality of the home team on permanent display.
- The Rohrschach. If you asked 100 Minnesotans what this amorphous new stadium looks like, you might get 100 more different answers. So rather than having a nickname that forces a single interpretation on everyone, maybe we should nickname it after the psychological inkblot test that allows for an unlimited number of interpretations.
- The AntiDome. It’s the AntiDome because the jagged, asymmetrical shape is the polar opposite of the smooth, symmetrical Dome. It’s the AntiDome because it overcomes the things we hated about the Dome – the drabness, the frumpyness, and the shabby amenities. The Dome is dead, long live the AntiDome.
Ok, maybe I’m not entirely serious about all of these options. If you think you can do better, add your voice. Like it or not, with a community project as prominent and distinctive as this one, nicknaming will happen. So how about we give it some collective thought?