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Media outlets (mostly) reject Mall of America Field moniker

The Mall of America paid the Vikes millions for naming rights, but most local media is treating the designation like Harry Potter characters treat Voldemort.
By David Brauer

Since Jay Weiner’s piece on a new Vikings stadium is getting a bajillion comments today, I thought I’d add a small pop culture note.

Three weeks ago, the Vikes announced that the Metrodome’s playing surface would be re-branded “Mall of America Field.” Technically, it’s “Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.” More cash for the team, more aural diaper rash for the rest of us — so it goes in corporate sports.

But corporate media, at least on the home front, isn’t giving MOAF its due. The Strib studiously refuses to use the moniker, except sarcastically or on its Vikings cheerleader blog.

The Associated Press has no rule against MOAF, says Minnesota news editor Doug Glass, but “If context required mentioning the venue, our sports writers would certainly be more likely to use Metrodome given the building’s long-established identity for sports fans both here and nationally.”

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The St. Paul Pioneer Press seemed to be the most MOAF friendly — for example, in this photo caption. But sports editor Mike Bass says it’s not really kosher.

“That’s not the way the cutline read in the paper,” Bass notes. “The person who wrote that wasn’t technically wrong, it’s just not our style. As with all style questions or clarifications, we try to follow up to make sure everyone is on the same page.”

KARE recently used “Mall of America Field” as a second reference to the Metrodome; KSTP. com has done it once, as has Fox9 in similar items that looked written off the same press release. WCCO seems to be going the Strib’s no-MOAF way.

As AP’s Glass notes, “Mall of America Field at the Metrodome” is a mouthful. I’d add that only bought-off broadcast rights holders would willingly navigate it. And that’s probably enough for the Mall, along with the Vikes’ constant promotion.

Still, if the team opens a brand-new “Mall of America Field” in 2012, you can believe media references will become as ubiquitous as ones to Target Field.