SBD/Issue 128/Facilities & Venues

Braves Seek To Prevent Naming Rights For Sponsors' Competitors

Braves Seeking To Block Sponsors' Competitors  From
Landing Naming-Rights To Minor League Ballpark
The Braves are "seeking the right" to block Gwinnett County (GA) from selling naming rights for the new Triple-A stadium "to competitors of some companies, like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, that have exclusive sponsorship deals" with the Braves, according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Gwinnett has resisted the Braves' efforts, because they could "result in lower naming-rights revenue for the county." While both sides express confidence the issue "will be resolved, both also say it's an important point." Attorney Lee Tucker, who is negotiating the contract with the Braves for the Gwinnett Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, "We're well past any kind of deal-killer stage, if you would ... but I think it's a fair characterization to say this is the biggest issue upon which we are still negotiating." Braves Exec VP/Business Operations Mike Plant said that the team "needs to protect significant, long-standing connections that some companies have with its brand." While Plant mentioned the team's relationship with Coke, he "would not name other sponsors the Braves seek to protect." Plant: "It's a small list and one that we have said to (Gwinnett) we have to protect now that a (minor-league) team is going to be 35 miles north of us." Tucker notes from the county's standpoint, reducing the potential naming-rights partners is "problematic because the county is counting on that revenue stream to help pay stadium debt." Groundbreaking on the $45M stadium is "tentatively planned for next month," and the Braves plan to move their Triple-A affiliate, currently the Richmond Braves, to the stadium next year (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/26).

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