Indians sell field's naming rights for $58 million over 16 years
CLEVELAND -- "The Jake"' is no more. The home of the Cleveland Indians will be called Progressive Field as part of a naming rights deal that is worth nearly $58 million over 16 years.
Car insurance company Progressive Corp. and the American League team announced the terms of the agreement for the 42,000-seat downtown ballpark on Friday.
The stadium had been known as Jacobs Field since it opened in 1994, named when the team had been owned by Cleveland-area businessman Richard Jacobs. Progressive will pay an average of $3.6 million a year for the rights.
Indians president Paul Dolan said at a news conference on Friday that the club is aware of fans' emotional connections with Jacobs Field.
"I'm sure the fans' thinking about this place being something other than Jacobs Field will take a while," Dolan said. "But I'm also sure that over time, Progressive Field will also sink in with the fans' psyche."
Glenn Renwick, Progressive's president and chief executive, said that the cost of the naming rights represents about 1 percent of Progressive's annual advertising and marketing budget.
"Quite frankly, as a company we are approached all the time with opportunities for various sponsorships. This came after a lot of thought. It's a great opportunity for both our customer base and the fan base," Renwick said.
Jacobs' contract for the naming rights expired at the end of the 2006 season, and the club hired sports marketing firm IMG to find a new naming rights partner.
Progressive, based in the Cleveland suburb of Mayfield Village, is the nation's third largest auto insurer behind State Farm and Allstate. The $14 billion company employs about 26,000 employees and about 30,000 independent agents.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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