Naming Rights Report

11 Mar
Naming Rights Report for March 5

Coolray Field, Gwinnett County, Ga.

Date Announced: Feb. 17

Buyer: Coolray Heating and Cooling

Terms: 16 years

Ownership/ Tenant: Gwinnett County/Gwinnett Braves

Brokered: Locally

Comments: Just shy of a year after it opened, Gwinnett Stadium has a new name, Coolray Field. Coolray Heating and Cooling is a 40-year-old Atlanta-based heating, cooling and plumbing company planning to expand in Gwinnett County. The company is a new sponsor for the venue.

“We are excited to get them,” said North Johnson, general manager of the Gwinnett Braves. “It is a 16-year contract, and based on our research, it is the second largest minor league naming rights deal.”

Johnson said the Braves will receive the first $350,000 of naming rights revenue annually, and the second $350,000 goes to the county. Anything above that is split 50-50.

As part of the deal, Coolray will receive a LED marquee sign on the highway near the entrance of the stadium, and at the entrance, and their name and logo on the scoreboard. The company will also have use of a luxury suite. “There is a whole hospitality and sponsorship package, that includes promotion nights,” Johnson said. “[Coolray president Ken Haines] wants to be giving away air conditioning systems, perhaps as much as once a month.”

Johnson said Haines attended the last game of their first season last spring, and realized there was no name on the stadium.

“He called the office and talked to the folks about what it would take,” Johnson said. “We gave him a range, and he took a deep breath – it was a little more than an outfield billboard sign.”

Johnson said they were aggressive with the hospitality pieces, including offering first shot at tickets for non-baseball events, so Haines can entertain employees and clients.

Contact: North Johnson, (678) 277-0300

State Farm Arena, Hidalgo, Texas

Date Announced: Feb. 4

Buyer: State Farm Insurance

Ownership/Management/Tenant: City of Hidalgo/Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, Central Hockey League, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, NBA Development League

Brokered: Locally

Comments: National insurance provider State Farm has ventured into the naming rights market for the first time, putting their name on the former Dodge Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.

“They have a big presence here, and their brand is very big,” said Bertha Gonzalez, director of Marketing and Sales for the venue.

State Farm has 39 agents and 240 employees in the area.

Gonzalez said the deal includes signage, including the State Farm name and logo on the Jumbotron, scoreboards and on the ice for hockey games. They will also have a luxury suite for hockey games, and pre-sale opportunities for tickets to concerts and other events.

In addition, State Farm representatives will staff a kiosk during events.

“We are still working on cross-marketing,” Gonzalez said. “The city has BorderFest and they will be part of that.”

The venue’s corporate sponsorship sales staff and general manager and city officials brokered the deal, she said.

The 6,800-seat venue opened in 2003. Dodge opted not to renew their contract last year.

Contact: Bertha Gonzalez, (956) 843-6688

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.

Date Announced: Feb. 23
Buyer: Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC

Terms: Five years with extension options, financial terms not released

Ownership/Management/Tenant: Sports Authority of Nashville and Davidson County/Powers Management Company/Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League

Comments: Bridgestone Americas, the Nashville-based tire manufacturer, and the Nashville Predators have agreed to a naming rights deal for the Sommet Center, pending the approval of the building’s owner, the Sports Authority of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

The Predators and Bridgestone Americas also announced a five-year extension of their existing marketing partnership.

In November, the Predators sued Franklin-based Sommet Group for nonpayment of their naming rights deal, though the pair later agreed to keep the name on the building until a new sponsor could be found.

According to the lease agreement reached in 2008, the Predators receive 100 percent of the naming rights revenue.

Contact: Dan MacDonald, (615) 419-4565

PPL Park at Chester (Pa.)

Date Announced: Feb. 23

Buyer: PPL Energy Plus

Terms: 10 years, $20 million

Ownership/Management/Tenant: Delaware County/City of Chester/Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer League, Philadelphia Independence, Women’s Professional Soccer

Brokered:  Locally

Comments: PPL Corp., the parent company of PPL Energy Plus, an unregulated subsidiary that sells electricity to commercial users, has purchased naming rights for the Union’s $120 million, 18,500-seat Major League Soccer stadium, scheduled to open March 25 in Chester, Pa., outside of Philadelphia.

The stadium will feature 30 luxury suites, a 2,000-seat club section, and a full-service club restaurant, along with a built-in concert stage. The venue is part of a $500 million waterfront revitalization project planned to bring urban renewal to Chester.

The deal will help PPL promote itself in a market that has newly deregulated electricity purchase. Since PPL is seeking to raise their brand awareness with businesses, not consumers, the deal includes ways for them to use the facility to woo potential clients at receptions and meet-the-team events. The company also sponsors a picnic patio at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.

Contact: George Lewis, (610) 774-4687

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