Willis What? Sears Tower Changes Names

Insurance company gets naming rights
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2009 9:10 AM CDT
Chicago's Sears Tower officially becomes Willis Tower today.   (Photo: Business Wire)
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(Newser) – An insurance company no one's ever heard of is suddenly a big name in Chicago.  Starting today, the Sears Tower—the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere—becomes Willis Tower, after Willis Group Holdings, the Sun-Times reports. Chicagoans grumbling about the name change, which Willis earned by leasing just three of the building's 110 floors, should stop complaining, the company's chairman says. Sears was doing nothing for the city, he notes, while Willis brought 500 new jobs to town during a recession, and coughed up $100,000 for the city's 2016 Olympic effort.

"I'm trying to help out," he tells the Sun-Times. "I'm trying to contribute." When the Sears Tower opened in 1973, it was home to Sears, Roebuck & Co., which left for the suburbs in 1993. But the name stuck. So will Chicagoans accept the change? If the city's US Cellular Field is any indication, it could be tough sell, the Chicago Tribune reports. To many, the home of the White Sox will always be Comiskey Park.