The Triple-A PCL Nashville Sounds' agreement with the city allows the team "to sell naming rights for the first time" for its new, downtown ballpark, according to Bradley George of WPLN-FM. The team's old ballpark "had to remain named after businessman Herschel Greer" after an attempt in the early '00s to "sell the rights on eBay ended as soon as then-Mayor Bill Purcell’s administration got word of it." Middle Tennessee State Univ. sports marketing professor Don Roy said that a naming-rights deal for the new ballpark will "likely bring in somewhere in the low-to-mid six figures each year." The Triple-A PCL Memphis Redbirds get "around $172,000 a year from AutoZone" for naming rights. First Tennessee Bank "attached its name to the Sounds’ previous downtown stadium proposal, which was scuttled" in '09. A spokesperson for the bank said that it is "not involved in any discussions with the team for the new ballpark" (NASHVILLEPUBLICRADIO.org, 1/10).
IF YOU BUILD IT...: In South Carolina, Jeff Wilkinson reported Hardball Capital Chair & CEO Jason Freier, who owns the Single-A Midwest League Fort Wayne TinCaps and Single-A South Atlantic League Savannah Sand Gnats, on Wednesday "guaranteed he would bring a team to Columbia if the city builds a new ballpark." It is not clear yet "how the stadium would be funded." But Freier said that he "could build it" about $7M cheaper than the projected $42M cost. The Columbia City Council is "considering whether to pay the lion’s share" of funding for the project. Freier and developer Bob Hughes said that the ballpark would "be 'the anchor' of the Bull Street project ... attracting up to 500,000 people a year to the area, tentatively named Columbia Commons" (Columbia STATE, 1/9).