SBD/Issue 181/Facilities & Venues

TD Ameritrade Inks Naming-Rights Deal For CWS Ballpark In Omaha

New Omaha Ballpark Hopes To Attract As
Many As 70 Events A Year, Including CWS
TD Ameritrade has "signed a deal that will put its name on the new 24,000-seat stadium in Omaha, Neb., that will house" the College World Series (CWS), according to Terry Lefton in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources "put the 20-year deal at about $750,000 a year, with annual escalators." The venue "hopes to attract as many as 70 events a year, with roughly half of them being the NCAA Division I baseball championship." The CWS "will move from Rosenblatt Stadium to the new field in two years." The naming-rights deal "includes signs, suite and club seats, additional tickets and hospitality, and the use of the facility for corporate events." Lefton notes the deal is "significant since it represents a naming-rights deal at a time when the market has soured, and one being done by a financial services company, most of which are under pressure to shed any marketing expenditures, especially sports marketing." TD Ameritrade's HQs are located in Omaha, and the deal was "largely done to demonstrate hometown support." Phoenix-based Gemini Sports Group (GSR) "negotiated the deal and will plan activation with agency of record status for TD Ameritrade." GSR President Rob Yowell: "Ideally, the College World Series will turn into a larger and longer event, a celebration of baseball and America, and TD will be a big part of that." Lefton notes TD Ameritrade's ad campaign with actor Sam Waterston is a "fixture on NFL and college sports telecasts, but this is the company's first sizable sports sponsorship" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/8 issue). Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority President Roger Dixon said that TD Ameritrade will "pay an average of about" $1M annually over 20 years, though payments in the first years "will start around $750,000 and go up from there." In Omaha, Maggie O'Brien notes the city is "counting on revenues from the naming rights to help pay for the stadium's construction," and as the new home of the CWS, the ballpark's naming rights are "viewed as more valuable than stadiums built for a minor league team" (Omaha WORLD-HERALD, 6/9).

TICKET MASTERS: In Omaha, Dane Stickney reports the CWS for the first time this year is "taking part in the secondary ticket market, allowing what could be seen as NCAA-supported scalping." CWS season-ticket holders who "can't use their reserved seats can now sell them with the NCAA's blessing" through TicketExchange, a service supported by Ticketmaster. If the tickets are sold, the seller "gets a check, minus a 10[%] posting fee that's shared between Ticketmaster and the NCAA." CWS Ticket Chair Herb Hames said that the service is a "win-win because the site enables those with extra tickets a legitimate, sanctioned way to sell them to those who need tickets without including nonsanctioned brokers." Stickney notes "fewer than 60 total tickets were listed on the site" yesterday, and tickets "weren't available for many games, including the first two contests Saturday." The NCAA "uses similar Web sites to sell tickets to other events," including the Division I men's basketball tournament (Omaha WORLD-HERALD, 6/9).

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