Frederick leaders briefed on naming rights for Harry Grove Stadium

Picture this: “Company XYZ Field” at Harry Grove Stadium.

That could be in the future for the minor league baseball stadium owned by the city and home to the Frederick Keys.

City staff briefed the mayor and aldermen Wednesday afternoon on what’s in store when negotiations to find a sponsor and reach a profit-splitting deal with the Keys organization begin.

Relatives urged the board to keep the Harry Grove name.

“To keep the agreement made between M.J. Grove and the city of Frederick, we believe it is important to keep the name Harry Grove Stadium as part of any name given to the field or the stadium in the future,” Virginia Grove Matthias, a granddaughter of Harry Grove, said during the meeting. “Harry Grove was a very important leader in Frederick and a great baseball fan. It is fitting that this stadium in Frederick carry his name.”

The mayor and aldermen agreed that removing the Grove name is not an option.

Alderwoman Karen Young added that she wanted to make sure the words Harry Grove also remain prominent on any signs.

“We don’t want to do anything to diminish the contribution of the Grove family,” Young said.

Such talks wouldn’t take place until a corporate sponsor is identified, said Chris Hudgins, general manger of Team Services, the company hired by Frederick to set up negotiations.

The stadium got the name when Harry Grove’s son, M.J., donated $250,000 to finish the project.

It won’t just be the main marquee that would get the name — other signs in the stadium and outside of it could get the brand sponsorship.

“We don’t want to just slap the name all over the place,” Hudgins said. “We want it to be tactful.”

Based on similar deals at other minor league stadiums, Hudgins predicted the city’s contract could be in the $150,000- to $250,000-per-year range.

There was some concern over what percentage of the profit comes to the city. According to the 10-year lease signed recently between the city and the Keys, the two sides must negotiate splitting any deals.

The aldermen said they wanted the city’s share to be enough to cover the cost Frederick must budget each year to subsidize the stadium.

“I’d say we deserve a majority of these dollars,” Alderwoman Shelley Aloi said.

The city does have a bargaining chip in its favor. If the Keys won’t budge on splitting the profit, the aldermen do not have to vote to sell the naming rights to the city-owned stadium.

After the meeting, Matthias said she was satisfied with the direction of the process.

“We do also want it to make money for the city,” she said of the stadium. “We want it to enhance future generations of Frederick people.”

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