Originally written on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 2/19/13

Just when we thought the Sacramento Kings’ Sleep Train Arena took the cake for strangest-named sports stadium of all-time, Florida Atlantic University has upped the ante. According to OwlAccess.com, the school will formally announce on Tuesday that it has reached a deal with The Geo Group for naming rights to its two-year-old football stadium. The Geo Group name is generic enough that it probably won’t raise any eyebrows when people see “Geo Group Stadium,” or whatever it is going to be called. But it turns out this is one of the most bizarre things anyone has ever named a stadium after. The Geo Group is described as “a leader in privatizing correctional facilities.” In other words, states facing budget crunches sell their prisons to these guys, who are in charge of making sure inmates don’t end up shivved in the shower room or hanging out in your back yard before their formal release. The company’s CEO is a Florida Atlantic alum, which explains his interest in getting the deal done. However, it does seem like a curious move from a business perspective. Ostensibly, the idea behind stadium naming rights is to make your product name more familiar with potential customers — American Airlines Arena, Petco Park, FedEx Field, and so on all the way down the line to, yes, Sleep Train Arena. I’m no Darren Rovell, but I’ve got to believe the market for potential customers looking to sell a prison for Geo Group to operate is somewhat limited. On the flip side, it does lend to some awesome nickname possibilities. Opposing teams will surely be intimidated if when they realize they are going to play in “The Jail Cell.” And “The Pen” would certainly work as an awesome name for the student section. There’s even a possibility for stadium-rights cross-promotion, like “The Geo Group: Currently Housing the Guys Who Named Enron Field.”

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