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
"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.