OKC Officials Want MiLB Team To Reconsider Naming-Rights Deal With Casino
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and other city leaders are urging the Triple-A PCL Oklahoma City RedHawks and the Chickasaw Nation "to reconsider their decision to rename the Bricktown ballpark after the town of Newcastle and the tribe's casino, Newcastle Casino," according to a front-page piece by Kimball & Lackmeyer of the OKLAHOMAN. Team and casino reps claim the ballpark's new name, Newcastle Field at Bricktown, is a "new way to promote both venues," but critics see the naming-rights deal "as disrespectful to Oklahoma City and a move to groom young people into the next generation of compulsive gamblers." No city officials from Oklahoma City were on hand yesterday as RedHawks President & GM Michael Byrnes and Newcastle Casino Marketing Manager Jennifer Cross "unveiled the new name and logo." Byrnes indicated that the relationship with the casino "began two years ago with advertising inside the ballpark." Cornett and City Council member Meg Salyer were "unhappy with naming a $34 million ballpark built and paid for by Oklahoma City taxpayers after Newcastle, a suburb of 7,700 people." However, both Cornett and Salyer noted that they "have no control over the naming rights." Byrnes and Cross "defended the naming rights deal as a means to continue improvements at the ballpark" (OKLAHOMAN, 4/5).