The Mariners and T-Mobile announced a 25-year partnership that will begin in January and run through December 2043. Per Forbes, the deal is worth $87.5 million.
Welcome to T-Mobile Park.
For the first time since its construction in 1998 and opening in 1999, the baseball stadium in the Sodo district will be called something other than Safeco Field.
On Wednesday the Mariners and the Bellevue-based telecommunications giant announced a 25-year naming-rights agreement. The deal must be approved by the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District (PFD).
Forbes reported that T-Mobile will pay the Mariners $87.5 million for the naming rights, an annual average of $3.5 million.
“T-Mobile has a deep commitment to this community, a passion for customer service and a well-earned reputation as a leader in innovation,” John Stanton, the Mariners’ chairman and managing partner, said in a statement. “These are the qualities that make T-Mobile the right partner to name this iconic ballpark.”
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T-Mobile, which has about 8,000 employees at its Bellevue headquarters, announced a plan to merge with competitor Sprint this year. The proposed $26.5 billion merger is being considered by regulators.
“The Un-carrier is always shaking things up for the better, and this time we’re going BIG with the Seattle Mariners for all their fans,” John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO, said in a statement. “T-Mobile Park isn’t just some corporate-branded sponsorship to us … this is about supporting the community and our hometown Mariners in building a World Series-caliber team!”
The naming-rights agreement with Safeco ended after the 2018 season. The insurance company in 2017 elected not to renew its agreement with the Mariners. The Safeco Field sign on the outside of the retractable roof and other signage in the stadium recently was removed.
Renderings released by the Mariners show a magenta glow from the the stadium, which follows T-Mobile’s signature color. Sources indicate that it will be visible only at night. The signage for the stadium will begin going up almost immediately, though the “Enchant” winter festival is being held inside the stadium.
“Fans have come to expect a great experience at this ballpark and we have made a commitment to invest substantial club revenues over the next 25 years to make sure that continues,” Mariners president Kevin Mather said in the statement. “This partnership with T-Mobile will help us meet that obligation so that fans will have a first-class experience at T-Mobile Park for decades to come.”
The company has its roots in VoiceStream, a company started in Bellevue in 1994 by Stanton, who was an influential McCaw Cellular executive. VoiceStream was sold to German company Deutsche Telekom in 2001 and renamed T-Mobile.
T-Mobile, which still is owned by Deutsche Telekom, could likely afford the steep naming fees — the company reported revenue of more than $40.6 billion last year, and profit of $4.5 billion. It’s known for having aggressive and expensive magenta-filled marketing campaigns, which often encourage people to “break up with” their current carriers and switch to T-Mobile.
T-Mobile has more than 77 million U.S. customers, making it the third-largest carrier behind Verizon and AT&T.