Chesapeake Energy Arena. I don’t think anyone around here was really surprised, and I think a lot of us were relieved because it could have been worse. I’m not really a big fan of Energy Solutions Arena or Quicken Loans Arena or any of the other pretty lame NBA building names out there. At least we’re lucky in that the big corporations headquartered in Oklahoma City (Chesapeake, Devon, SandRidge, MidFirst Bank, Sonic, etc.) don’t have horrible names.
Still, the Ford Center was a solid name. In the era of sponsored building names, that’s about as traditional, institutional and majestic as it gets. And it didn’t really need a nickname. “It’s at the Ford Center” rolled off the tongue pretty easily. It still does, really, for people like me who have been calling it that even when it was officially known as Oklahoma City Arena.
But the new arena name isn’t nearly as compact. It’s not as natural to say, “I’m headed to Chesapeake Energy Arena for the game.” This arena needs a nickname. Let’s get the ball rolling so we can have a nickname picked out for the next NBA season (which hopefully starts sooner than October 2012). Here are my top choices so far. Please submit your own in the comment section. This is important.
1. The Peake
This is the most obvious choice and, I’m assuming, will eventually win out as the arena’s nickname. It’s simple, it’s the only real shorter word within the name (unless you count “are” in arena, I guess) and it’s sharp and quick. It’s easy to say, “We’re headed to the Peake for the game.” It definitely has potential.
The biggest drawback in my mind is that “peak” brings to mind mountains. And we do not have mountains in Oklahoma. I’ve lived here as long as I’ve lived anywhere else, but I also used to live in the Rockies. So when someone here tries to tell me, “We do too have mountains! We’ve got the Quartzes and the Ouachitas and the Arbuckles!” … I just laugh. In Oklahoma City, a “peak” is probably an interstate overpass or one of those big dirt hills next to a new subdivision. Every other team in the Northwest Division has a better claim to using “peak” in any nickname.
Chesapeake’s stock symbol wouldn’t make the worst possible nickname. It could be better, but I could live with people calling the arena “the CHK” or something like that. It’s probably better than “CEA,” the acronym if you just use the first letters from the words involved with the actual name. There are already plenty of people wandering about time in “edgy” shirts and hats and things that say CHK, because Chesapeake hands a bunch of them out to its employees. So there’s a precedent here.
But I still find this one to be sort of weak. Feels like we can do better, even if we just stick with “The Peake.”
Weird, I know. But there’s a historical precedent. It just happens to be a kitten, which I realize isn’t the fiercest animal on the block if you’re looking for a nickname associated with a championship-caliber sports team.
Chessie was a kitten who was (and still is) the mascot for a railroad company, then known as the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and now known as CSX after several mergers. Chessie was part of the railway’s “Sleep like a kitten and arrive fresh as a daisy” campaign when it was advertising it’s Pullman sleeper cars before World War II. She even later got a kitten husband, Peak, who went off to war while Chessie supported him at home by helping advertise war bonds.
“I’m going to the Chessie for the concert” may not win much support as the arena’s nickname. But, as you can see by the fact we’re only three ideas deep and running out of good ones, I’m either not that creative or the new arena name doesn’t lend itself to many nicknames or both. We’re already at railroad kittens.
4. The Thunderdome
This is cheating because it’s not an obvious derivative of Chesapeake Energy Arena. But isn’t it also the best one out there? It’s a little more intimidating than the Peake, and at least it has the obvious connection to the team itself.
But this nickname has been available and out there for long enough that those who want to use it already are, and those who don’t never will. I don’t think it can really get any more popular than it already is. Finally getting the arena’s long-term official name isn’t going to make this nickname any more or less likely to catch on.
5. The Gas Chamber
You know, because Chesapeake is a pioneer in drilling for natural gas. And has burning natural gas as part of its logo. And because people die in gas chambers — although only a handful of states use the gas chamber as even a secondary option for executing prisoners.
I do think this has some potential, though, even if it’s pretty long for a nickname. And the Thunder will have to stop losing home playoff games to the Mavericks if it’s going to stick. We don’t want OKC’s own team to be the one executed in the Gas Chamber. But it does sound a little fearsome and has the right kind of ominous-sounding quality you want in a nickname.
So what other ideas do you have? I’m sure there are some possibilities related to the “energy” part of the arena name. But this building needs a fan-sponsored nickname.