SBD/June 21, 2011/Facilities

Seattle's Qwest Field Takes CenturyLink's Name; RBC Center Could See Name Change

Seattle's Qwest Field officially has a new name -- CenturyLink Field -- and a news conference “to unveil the new logo will be held Thursday,” according to Bob Condotta of the SEATTLE TIMES. The anticipated name change follows CenturyLink's acquisition of Qwest in April. Qwest purchased the naming rights to the stadium, home to the Seahawks and MLS Sounders, in ’04 “in a sponsorship deal that runs through 2014 with a five-year renewal option, reportedly paying an estimated $75 million.” Condotta notes the fact that the deal could expire in three years “means there’s no guarantee the new name will last for long.” CenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications company in the U.S., began “making changes in sponsorship items at Qwest in April” during Sounders games. In addition to the stadium, Seattle's events center “will be known as CenturyLink Field Event Center” (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/21).

TAKE IT TO THE BANK: In Raleigh, Chip Alexander reported a new name “could be coming” for RBC Center. With PNC Financial “confirming its plans to buy RBC Bank, PNC will be picking up the naming-rights agreement for the arena," home to the Hurricanes since it opened in '99. PNC CEO James Rohr yesterday said that the bank is “looking at putting its own name on the arena after the acquisition is completed,” targeted for March ’12. Alexander noted Raleigh's Centennial Authority “has final approval on any name change.” RBC signed a 20-year, $80M deal to acquire naming rights to the arena in '02. PNC already owns naming rights to the Pirates' PNC Park in Pittsburgh, as well as PNC Field outside of Scranton, Pa., home to the Triple-A Int'l League Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NEWSOBSERVER.com, 6/20). Also in Raleigh, Chris Baysden reported “no decision has been made on when any change will occur, or what” RBC Center’s new name might be. PNC VP/Corporate Communications Fred Solomon: "It’s too early" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/20). Meanwhile, The Heritage officials yesterday said that RBC's title sponsorship of the PGA Tour event will not be impacted.

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