Photo of the outfield scoreboard at U.S. Cellular Field. Home of the Chicago White Sox.

Image Credit: Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0)

U.S. Cellular Field, home ballpark of the Chicago White Sox, has changed it's name to Guaranteed Rate Field and many baseball fans on the south side aren't happy. The deal is worth less than the previous deal with telecommunications company U.S. Cellular. The sponsorship agreement with Guaranteed Rate will pay the Chicago White Sox $25 million for thirteen years or about $2 million per season, far below the league average. The name change became official on November 1st, 2017.

U.S. Cellular, which is no longer doing business in the Chicago market, was paying the Chicago White Sox more than $3 million per season every since 2003. The original naming rights deal with U.S. Cellular was $68 million for 20 years. Guaranteed Rate, however, also signed a second sponsorship agreement with the ball club that will pay the White Sox organization additional revenue for marketing, hospitality and promotional efforts inside the ballpark. Ownership of the Chicago White Sox would not comment on the financial terms of the second sponsorship agreement. 

Adding corporate names to stadiums and arenas in professional sports has become big business. Investment banking giant Citigroup paid $400 million for the naming rights to Citi Field, the home ballpark of the New York Mets. And while many sports fans do not enjoy the frequent name changes of their favorite venues, naming rights agreements are a win-win for both the sponsor and the sports franchise. The franchise receives a steady stream of revenue and the sponsor's brand recognition increases and often gains more traction. 




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