Today, Portland Trail Blazers president Chris McGowan announced that the team had sold naming rights to the Rose Garden arena to Big-A** Sandwiches, a local food cart infamous for the cuisine aptly-described as its name. The deal will take effect starting with the 2013-2014 season, when the team's home venue will be renamed the "Big-A** Sandwiches Rose Garden". In addition, the arena will be repainted to resemble a sandwich, with the roof made to look like a giant ciabatta roll, and the exterior around the 200 level made to resemble roast beef. Per NBA policy, the name will contain asterisks to disguise the word "ass", which is still considered by some to be a profanity when used to refer to the human buttocks.
"We're excited to have Big-A** Sandwiches on board", said McGowan. "The Trail Blazers have been looking long and hard for a title sponsor for the arena, one who shares the values of the team and of the Portland metropolitan area, and more importantly, one who was willing to part with some cash to have their name on the arena". As part of the deal, Big-A** sandwiches will, on game days, relocate their food cart from their usual location at SE 2nd and Pine, to the Rose Garden promenade.
The announcement ends a long and sometimes painful search for a title sponsor for the arena. The team had long eschewed the idea of being sponsored by a bank, airline, or energy company; and none of Portland's high-tech firms seemed interested in the idea. A reported sponsorship arrangement with Voodoo Doughnut fell apart last summer when starting point guard (and regular Voodoo Doughnut customer) Raymond Felton was traded to the New York Knicks, and the doughnut chain subsequently went bankrupt as a result. The search was also complicated by several years of instability in the front office, that only ended when McGowan and general manager Neil Olshey were hired.