The Mariners reportedly have reached an agreement with T-Mobile for the naming rights of their ballpark, though any deal "won't be official" until a new lease agreement with the Seattle Public Facilities District, the board that oversees the venue, is "finalized," according to sources cited by Ryan Divish in a front-page piece for the SEATTLE TIMES. The previous naming-rights agreement with Seattle-based insurance agency Safeco "ended after" the '18 season. The "memorable and visible Safeco Field sign on the outside of the retractable roof and other signage" at the ballpark recently was removed. The naming-rights issue "became a key bargaining point" when the Metropolitan King County (Wash.) Council was "debating this summer whether to give the Mariners public funds" for ballpark renovation and fixes. Locally-based T-Mobile "announced a plan to merge with competitor Sprint earlier this year." T-Mobile is "expected to be the lasting brand if the deal goes through, and adding naming rights to its hometown field would only reinforce the claims that the combined company's headquarters will remain" in the area (SEATTLE TIMES, 11/16). In Seattle, Ashley Stewart noted a partnership between T-Mobile and the Mariners "wouldn't be a surprise" as Mariners Chair & Managing Partner John Stanton "founded the company that became T-Mobile." The telecommunications company also holds the naming rights to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/15).
CLEAN ACTIVATION: FORBES' Maury Brown, who initially reported the T-Mobile deal, cited sources as saying that while initially the "rights were rumored" to be worth $6M annually, the deal will "be closer" to $3M annually. Sources said that the length, total value and additional activation of the deal "has not yet been revealed." However, given that there is a prior in-ballpark "sponsorship deal with the Mariners, it would seem 'cleaner' to do the naming rights of the ballpark, separately" (FORBES.com, 11/15).