Safeco Field getting a new name — shouldn’t the public get to weigh in?
After an unremarkable season, the Mariners are seeking a new company to purchase the naming rights for the stadium. Car insurance giant Safeco signed a deal back in 1998 for $40 million. The ball club is likely to replace it with a much bigger contract.
“Safeco Field is getting a new name. Their tenants have not been to the playoffs in 6,168 days, but that’s not what the story is about,” said KIRO Radio’s Gee Scott. “If you’re publicly owned, and you’re about to go ahead and privatize and get those naming rights — shouldn’t we have some publicly owned names?”
Seeking a new name comes in the wake of the city council’s 5-4 vote to fund the maintenance of the baseball stadium to the tune of $135 million dollars. The Mariners are entertaining offers from three potential buyers, according to a Seattle Weekly report, but won’t be able to secure naming rights until after a new lease is finalized. Last year, the Seahawks secured an extension of the CenturyLink deal that sustains the naming rights through 2033 for $162.7 million.
“Since it is publicly owned, we should have some ideas for what to name it,” Gee said. “I’ll give you mine: Stuck In Traffic; Emerald, and Green City; however you want to put that.” One listener suggested ‘Maybe Next Year Field.'”
As the Weekly notes, the previous 20-year lease allowed the Mariners to be the sole financial beneficiary of stadium naming rights, despite the fact that it’s owned by the Public Facilities District and was primarily financed by taxpayers. The ball club has argued that naming rights revenue are necessary for upkeep and improvement costs.
“How about Empty in October?” joked co-host Drew Barth.
“I just want some meaningful baseball, that’s all. It’s very difficult to ask for millions of dollars when the product on the field doesn’t make you want to give money.”
What do you think the name should be?