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Volume 26 No. 51
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Only The Name Will Change: Pac Bell Park To Become SBC Park

SBC Will Pay For Signage Changes

The MLB Giants and SBC Communications announced that the name of Pacific Bell Park will change to SBC Park on January 1 to reflect SBC's stated move from a regional brand to a global identity. Debra Nichols Design, the company that designed the ballpark's original signage, has developed a new logo and signage (Giants).

ONE IN THE SAME: MLB.com's Chris Shuttlesworth noted that in '96, just a week after SBC proposed buying Pac Bell parent company Pacific Telesis Group (PacTel), PacTel agreed to pay $50M for the 24-year naming rights deal. SBC will pay the costs of changing the ballpark's signage and other materials. Giants Exec VP & COO Larry Baer: "This is something that's important to [SBC]. ... They're one of just a few very large telecommunications companies, and they want to do what they need to do to enhance their image and their awareness." Baer added, "They're our biggest partner. They were very much instrumental in getting this ballpark built with us, and as such, I think the fans understand, this ballpark is such a great benefit to the community and to Giants fans, I think they understand why the change is being made." Baer noted the team plans to "keep the look of the ballpark's signs and logos similar to the existing ones" (MLB.com, 10/14). In CA, Jonathan Okanes notes while Pac Bell changed its name to SBC last December, the Giants kept the ballpark's original name because they "already had all their literature ready to go for" '03. The Giants did some "informal polling of fans to gauge the reaction to the new name." Baer: "Some fans said they fell in love with the name, 'Pac Bell Park.' But most fans just asked 'Is the baseball still going to be good? Are the hot dogs still going to be warm? Is the beer still going to be cold?' In four short years, people have gotten used to the park, the way it feels and the way it looks. We aren't going to change that at all" (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 10/15). In S.F., Squatriglia & Wallack report many fans "laughed aloud at the name and wondered just what 'SBC' means." But focus groups and surveys showed that "most people won't mind the name change." SBC's Lora Watts: "The ballpark experience is more important than the actual name" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/15).