Red Sox, JetBlue Sign Eight-Year Deal That Includes Spring Training Park Entitlement
The Red Sox and JetBlue have signed an eight-year extension of their partnership in which JetBlue will remain the official airline of both the team and Fenway Park. JetBlue also receives the naming rights to the Red Sox' new Spring Training facility in Ft. Myers, Fla., which will be named JetBlue Park when it opens in '12 (JetBlue). The extension, signed a year before the expiration of an existing three-year pact, will also include a designation for JetBlue as a Fenway Park Preservation Partner, a select group of larger Red Sox corporate partners playing significant roles in the 100th anniversary celebration of the ballpark in '12. The original sponsorship deal was signed in December '08 during some of the lowest depths of the global economic recession, and the relationship between the two quickly grew as the economy rebounded. "They've been incredible partners, and they're making a big commitment not only to Boston and Fenway, but Ft. Myers and Lee County (Fla.)," said Red Sox Exec VP & COO Sam Kennedy. "We're really pleased to have this partnership really bridge over both of our bases of operation.” Financial terms were not disclosed, but in the prior pact, JetBlue was paying about $1M per year on average, and the expanded rights in the new package inevitably will prompt a larger outlay. The eight-year term is also longer than most other sponsorship deals for both JetBlue and the Red Sox. JetBlue services the Ft. Myers airport, located just a few miles from the forthcoming ballpark, as Florida in general has become increasingly important to the airline (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
CONTRIBUTING TO CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT FUND: In Ft. Myers, Glenn Miller reports while Lee County is "not receiving any of the naming rights fees, it will receive $150,000 a year for eight years from the airline." The money will go into the ballpark's "capital improvement fund." The Red Sox and Lee County are both contributing $37,500 "for each of the first five years of the new facility," then $62,500 each for the following three years. The JetBlue funds are "in addition to that" (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 3/30).