Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Play Ball!

Tomorrow night, the World Series will begin. This year, the Texas Rangers take on the San Francisco Giants to battle it out in Major League Baseball's championship series. While baseball is associated with ballpark food like hot dogs, nachos, and Cracker Jacks, the game would not be possible without a home in which the teams can play ball. For that, many baseball franchises can thank food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies for sponsoring the sports fields and stadiums that bring us America's pastime.

It all started in 1926, when Wrigley became the first company to buy naming rights to a baseball stadium. Gum magnate William Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs, named his team's stadium Wrigley Field. The trend caught on and continued.

The Colorado Rockies call Coors Field home. Since 1995 Coors Brewing Company in nearby Golden, Colorado, has owned the naming rights to the Denver stadium. The beer company is not alone, however, when it comes to naming baseball venues. Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, owes its name to Miller Brewing Company. Miller's $40 million contract as the title sponsor for the home of the Milwaukee Brewers runs through 2020. Another beer company, Anheuser-Busch, is behind Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play. The ballpark opened on April 4, 2006, and the brewer's naming rights deal, which will last through the 2025 season, helped to offset the stadium's original construction costs.

While beer and baseball go hand in hand, not too many fans would associate the sport with orange juice, but they should! Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been home to the Tampa Bay Rays since 1990. The domed stadium seats 36,973. Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, opened in 2000, and houses the Astros.

Retailers are into the naming act, too. Pet supplier PETCO owns the rights to PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres. Thanks to Target, the Minnesota Twins have their own venue and no longer have to share space with local college and pro football teams with the opening of Target Field this year in Minneapolis.

Food and beverage CPG companies aren't only involved in naming baseball stadiums. Since 2001, Heinz Field in Pittsburgh has been the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pitt Panthers. Within the football arena, the Coca-Cola Great Hall spans approximately 40,000 square feet and displays a collection of Steelers and Panthers memorabilia. Finally, hockey and basketball fans in Denver unite at the Pepsi Center for sporting events and concerts.

If you've attended a sporting event at one of these ballparks or sports venues, tell me about your experience! What other CPG companies or retailers would you like to see in lights as a stadium sponsor?

No comments:

Post a Comment