Safeco Insurance has decided to not extend its naming rights agreement for the stadium following the 2018 season.
Since before the late Dave Niehaus threw out the ceremonial first pitch on the day it opened, the emerald jewel of a stadium in the Sodo district has been known as Safeco Field.
But that will change after the 2018 season.
The Mariners and Safeco Insurance announced Tuesday that the naming-rights agreement for the stadium will not be extended following next season.
“Safeco Insurance has been a great partner of the Mariners dating back to the earliest days of the franchise, including the ballpark naming rights for the last 20 years,” Mariners president Kevin Mather said in a statement. “We appreciate everything Safeco has done over the years to support our organization and look forward to continuing the relationship in the future.”
The agreement between Safeco and the Mariners began in 1998, a year before the stadium opened.
“It has been an honor to host the naming rights for the last 20 years and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the Mariners. While our marketing approach is changing, we intend to remain active partners with the organization for years to come,” Safeco president Tyler Asher said in a statement. “Safeco and our parent company Liberty Mutual are committed to our presence in the Seattle community, by providing jobs to thousands of people in the region and supporting non-profits that help make Seattle one of the finest and exciting cities in the U.S. and across the globe.”
In an e-mail to employees Monday, Asher announced that the company was “giving up” the naming rights, citing the desire to spread its investment across marketing partners and key growth programs.
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The Mariners have already begun preliminary discussions with multiple companies to find a partner for the naming rights to the stadium.