12,000 people sign petition demanding Jays’ stadium has name restored to ‘SkyDome’
Rachael D'Amore, CTV Toronto
Published Friday, April 8, 2016 3:39PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 8, 2016 7:02PM EDT
As the Toronto Blue Jays kick off another season, a new petition has surfaced online that seeks to rename the Rogers Centre back to its original name, “SkyDome.”
The Change.org petition, called “Give us back #OurSkyDome,” currently has about 12,000 signatures. It asks that Rogers Communications restore the title “SkyDome” to the Jays’ home stadium.
Randy Rajmoolie started the petition last summer. He decided to relaunch his efforts after an April Fool’s joke claiming the stadium would be renamed as “SkyDome” revived the discussion.
Now that Jays fever is mounting again with the team starting their season this week, the debate is gaining traction.
“It has really hit home for a lot of people, you can tell just from the response we’ve been getting in the past 24 hours,” Rajmoolie told Toronto.CTVNews.ca Wednesday. “It’s really nice to know that a lot of people feel the same way. I haven’t heard anything negative.”
The name “SkyDome” was chosen in 1987 as part of a province-wide contest that asked Ontarians to help name the stadium. Kellie Watson, of Wallaceburg, had the contest-winning submission of “SkyDome” and received two free tickets to every event held at the stadium since it opened.
When Rogers purchased the stadium in 2005, the name was changed to “Rogers Centre.”
Many fans have been resentful over the name change ever since.
“I am signing [this petition] because I like and miss the name SkyDome and I think Rogers Centre is self-indulgent and ridiculous,” Chandelle King, of Cambridge, wrote on the petition.
“Everyone calls it the SkyDome anyway,” wrote another.
Over the years, various campaigns were launched calling to reinstate the original title. In 2013, a Toronto media design agency called Branding For Good started its “Bring Back The Dome” campaign, urging the mass media company to compromise with the public and rename it “Rogers SkyDome.”
Rajmoolie isn’t looking to compromise.
In his petition, addressed to Rogers executives, Rajmoolie wants the original name restored.
He said that the stadium should be given the same respect of other Toronto landmarks, citing the CN Tower and Casa Loma.
“Imagine the uproar had they renamed something like Casa Loma to McDonald’s Casa Loma or Rogers Castle, had Rogers purchased it,” Rajmoolie said. “Skydome is as big a landmark as any in Toronto.”
Yusuf Gad, founder and president of Toronto branding and marketing firm The A5 Agency, says that changing the name back to SkyDome would be ‘more positive than negative’ for Rogers’ brand.
“Would it be a disaster if they changed the name back? Not really. In the mindset of people, Rogers is a telecommunications firm or, more specifically, a cable company. A brand can only really be damaged when the essence of what that brand is, is damaged,” Gad told Toronto.CTVNews.ca. “Changing the name of the Rogers Centre wouldn’t really fit the bill for a branding catastrophe.”
Gad said Rogers Communications is ‘rich enough’ to make the change in brand without much confliction, but whether they decide to do it is ‘another matter entirely.’
“Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is,” he said. “It’s not a conflict to their telecommunications sphere. The change wouldn’t confuse people. And if they say the change is for the fans, they’ll still get a little victory out of it.”
Rajmoolie didn’t rule out superstition as part of the reason fans are set on the name “SkyDome.”
“Aside from the playoff run last year, the Jays haven’t done anything successful at the Rogers Centre. Whereas at the SkyDome, we have the World Series back-to-back,” he said. “SkyDome takes me back to a time when Toronto and sports in Toronto was successful.”
Last season, the Toronto Blue Jays were well on their way to making the World Series but fell short against the Kansas City Royals with a 4-3 loss in game 6. They lost the series four games to two.
The Toronto Blue Jays play their home opener game tonight at 7:07 p.m.