Mariners, Safeco Ending Naming-Rights Deal After '18 Season; New Partner Could Be Local
The Mariners and Safeco Insurance yesterday announced that their 20-year agreement for naming rights to the ballpark "will not be extended beyond next year," according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE. The Mariners said that they have "already started 'preliminary talks' with potential new partners for naming rights." Those partners "were not identified." The ballpark "has been known as Safeco Field since it opened" in '99. Safeco Insurance President Tyler Asher said, "It has been an honor to host the naming rights for the last 20 years, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the Mariners" (THENEWSTRIBUNE.com, 6/13). In Seattle, Ryan Divish noted in an email to employees Monday, Asher announced the company was "'giving up' the naming rights, citing the desire to spread its investment across marketing partners and key growth programs" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 6/13). Consulting firm Bonham/Wills and Associates President & CEO Thomas Wills yesterday said that he "believes the Mariners' search for a new partner will be a quiet one that results in a long, lucrative deal, possibly from a local firm." Wills said, "It really depends on who in that marketplace are looking to make a big splash, but the Mariners are a great organization. They're a staple in the Northwest, so it's going to be a big deal, and it's probably going to be a long term." In Seattle, Stephen Cohen noted Wills "doesn't expect it to be one of the team's current corporate partners." Instead, he "expects the Mariners to focus on non-traditional industry categories like solar power or firms that the club pays out a lot of money to each year" (SEATTLEPI.com, 6/13).