SunTrust Park: The name is bland, the money is not

At some point during the 2017 baseball season, someone in the media is going to make a flub, calling the Braves’ new stadium “Sun Life Park.”

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Who could blame the person? “SunLife Stadium” and “SunTrust Park” sound so very generically close to each other. The Braves and Atlanta-based bank SunTrust are moving forward anyway, with a 25-year deal whispered to be worth a whopping $250 million. That’s twice as much as the value of the Cisco naming rights deal struck in 2006 for the Pacific Commons ballpark. It would also place among the top five in the nation on an annual basis.

$10 million a year would go a long way towards financing the new Home of the Braves, where $622 million in development cost translates into $50 million a year for those 25 years. SunTrust will become the sixth bank to have naming rights at a Major League Baseball facility. Banks tend to be more regional than most national consumer brands, so they tend to partner up with teams in their respective backyards.

  • Chase Field, Phoenix – acquired naming rights in merger with BankOne, originally from Cleveland
  • Comerica Park, Detroit – originally from Detroit
  • Citi Field, New York – based in New York
  • Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia – based in Providence, RI, claims Northeast as its region
  • PNC Park, Pittsburgh – based in Pittsburgh

Only one major bank is headquartered in the Bay Area, Wells Fargo. However, Wells Fargo already has naming rights deals with three arenas in Philadelphia, Des Moines, and Tempe (on the Arizona State University campus). There’s also one at a small arena in Dothan, Alabama, but who’s counting that? Wells Fargo could pursue naming rights at a new venue in the Bay Area, but with three already in place they may consider that enough.

As for the renderings? Looks a lot like the Braves’ current home from the outside.

10 thoughts on “SunTrust Park: The name is bland, the money is not

  1. Garbage name for a garbage plan.

  2. This will be the MOST unnecessary ballpark in the history of unnecessary ballparks.

    • @ BayMetro

      It would make the unnecessary hall of fame.

    • That seems to be the case. Braves want to replace their already-fined, 17-year-old ballpark – Done deal. A’s want to replace their 50-year-old, decrepit football stadium/ballpark – Dream the impossible dream.

  3. I’m dredding that this will blow up in their (Cobb County/Braves) faces and somehow further complicates the A’s effort to build a Bay Area ballpark.

  4. Can anyone explain to me why the Braves need a new ballpark? What a total waste of money. It’s almost immoral that these billionaires need new sports venues every 20 years. I put this right up there with the Warriors “need” for a new arena. There is nothing wrong with the Braves current ballpark and there is nothing wrong with Oracle Arena where the Warriors currently play.

    There are people starving in the World without clean water and proper sanitation and yet we have these self-centered billionaires demanding new sports palaces every couple of decades. Absolutely disgusting.

    • Follow the money, I guess. They’ll make more money at this new site than at the current location outside of downtown Atlanta.

  5. I know people from Atlanta and they all agree this is a great move. I-285 forms essentially a ring around Atlanta and 75% of their fans come from outside the ring.

    Right now, Turner Field is in the middle of the ring in a location horrendous to get to during the week due to traffic. The general area around the stadium never went through any kind of a “gentrification” process the way ATT Park, Petco Park, and Nationals Park did.

    In those 3 cases, all had the ballpark spur development. In the Braves case Turner Field did nothing of the sort.

    The Coliseum site I think would be great for a development similar to the Braves in Cobb County. But that is only because of the general Bay Area thriving.

    Turner Field is stuck in an area that will never thrive. Kudos to the Braves, they get a stadium where their fan base can now come and sell out during the week.

    The Braves will go from middle of the pack in attendance to top 10 easily.

  6. Sun Trust Park has to be the most uninspired new ballpark built since Camden Yards. It really is just a near carbon copy of the existing Turner Field that simply tries to fix a few of that park’s shortcomings (poorly it seems) while offering next to nothing in the way of a new design.

  7. A huge part of the blame for this falls on the city of Atlanta. How do you build a brand new park for a team and noy lock them into at least a 30 year lease? I know the idea of a team abandoning a less than 20 year old stadium probably seemed ubsurd at the time, but it’s still bad business sense.

    I’ve got my first visit to Turner tentatively scheduled for next year. Looks like I’ll be booking a second trip to Atlanta in 2017.

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