Guarantee you’ve heard about the impending name change for the White Sox’ ballpark.
The White Sox on Wednesday announced a new naming rights deal for the ballpark at 35th and Shields, which starting Nov. 1 will be called Guaranteed Rate Field through at least 2029.
Financial terms of the deal with the Chicago-based retail mortgage lender weren’t disclosed. But the opportunity was good enough for the White Sox to make concessions on their deal with the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and end a 20-year partnership with U.S. Cellular Field before it had expired. The park has been named U.S. Cellular Field since the club and the regional phone carrier, which no longer services Chicago, reached a 20-year, $68-million accord in 2003.
Noting that revenue beyond expenses goes directly to the roster, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing Brooks Boyer was “thrilled” with a 13-year deal that includes a team option for 2030.
“This is a nice step today toward continuing to fulfill the vision of putting the best possible club out on the field that can be out there for our fans,” Boyer said.
While U.S. Cellular has kept its headquarters in Chicago, Boyer said the company hasn’t done local business since 2013. The White Sox hoped to find a business with local roots and “put out some feelers,” Boyer said.
Boyer said one of his first calls was placed to Guaranteed Rate and it immediately felt like a good fit.
“It moved relatively quickly and it moved quietly, which was appreciated, and there were multiple companies that were interested in securing these naming rights,” Boyer said. “The nice part is we didn’t have to cast a long net.”
The name change garnered a lot of attention on social media.
One question prominently asked by fans is what the park’s nickname might be.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Many have shortened U.S. Cellular Field to The Cell over the years.
Manager Robin Ventura said he occasionally still calls it Comiskey Park, the park’s original name from 1991-2002. Boyer and Guaranteed Rate CEO Victor Ciardelli said they’d let fans determine the park’s nickname “organically.”
Ventura is hopeful the deal can benefit the team’s 25-man roster.
“That’s the idea,” Ventura said. “You see stadiums do that a lot. I don’t remember who was the first one to do it. But with that stuff, you’re looking to use it and use it effectively and use it to improve.”
The IFSA, which owns and operates the park, approved the name change at its board meeting on Wednesday afternoon. IFSA chairman Manny Sanchez said the deal could generate up to $6.4 million of revenue for the facility.