One of Major League Baseball’s most popular and prominent ballparks is getting a new name.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Giants will announce a 20-year naming rights agreement with the Redwood Shores technology giant on Thursday, and will rename their home ballpark Oracle Park effective immediately.
The agreement brings an end to the Giants’ partnership with AT&T, whose name adorned the stadium from 2006 throughout the 2018 season.
Details of the deal
Financials details of the deal aren’t expected to be revealed until Thursday’s announcement. Giants president and CEO Larry Baer did offer some insight however, telling the Chronicle it’s “very much in line with other recent naming-rights deals for top-tier facilities.” That led the newspaper to speculate a deal in the $300 to $350 million range.
Regardless, it’s sure to be a hefty increase from the $100 million the Giants received for naming-rights fees and marketing deals beginning in 1996.
The increase in revenue should bode well for the Giants’ future spending. As NBC Sports San Francisco’s Alex Pavlovic notes though, it hasn’t exactly impacted their spending this winter.
Per @hankschulman, new naming rights deal with Oracle could be worth more than $300 million. So far the Giants have spent $585,000 this offseason …
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) January 10, 2019
Previous name changes
This marks the ballpark’s third name change and fourth name overall since its opening in 2000.
The now-defunct Pacific Telesis originally purchased the naming rights in 1996, four years before the stadium opened. The company fronted $23 million to help build the park, which opened as Pac Bell Park on April 11, 2000.
The name was changed to SBC Park in 2003 after the Texas-based company bought Pacific Telesis, and then changed to AT&T Park in 2006 after SBC bought AT&T.
According to the Chronicle report, AT&T’s naming rights were to run through the 2019 season. However, the company informed the Giants they weren’t interested in extending the deal during their exclusive renegotiating period. The Giants were then given the option to end the deal a year early if another partner was found.
Oracle quickly jumped into the mix, according to Baer. The new deals mean Oracle will remain a big part of the Bay Area sports landscape after the Golden State Warriors move from Oracle Arena in Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco in the fall of 2019.
“The organizations know one another well,” Baer said of the negotiations. “That’s the only way we were able to get a deal this quickly.”
Best moments under the AT&T Park banner
Every ballpark, stadium and sports arena will go through a name change sooner or later. There are some obvious exceptions to that rule, such as Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. But those are few and far between. With the business model of sports in 2019, name changes have become inevitable.
That doesn’t mean they’ll always be accepted. We imagine fans in San Francisco will have a difficult time letting go of the AT&T Park name, if only because of the many memorable moments that have occurred there over the last 13 years.
From Barry Bonds’ record-setting 756th home run in 2007, to the three World Series championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014, many cherished memories and replayed moments will have AT&T Park attached to them. Even as the welcome signs and banners that adorn the ballpark change, the name won’t easily fade away.
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