Seven naming rights sponsor suggestions for Nationals Park

Under Armour Park

Sure, their corporate headquarters may be in Baltimore, but with Bryce Harper as the face of their baseball product line, Under Armour is already flexing its advertising dollars through the Washington market. And with Harper already under contract, maybe it helps pave the way to keeping him in D.C. for the long haul.

(Original image by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

TRUMP Park

We all know The Donald loves nothing more than plastering his name on giant structures — excuse me, “yuge” structures — and Nationals Park qualifies as about the biggest structure in D.C. It could take some of the sting out of the troubles he’s had with the soon-to-open Trump Hotel downtown, and would give him a chance to leave his mark on Washington in case this whole president thing doesn’t work out.

Budweiser Park

Sure, Busch Stadium in St. Louis already exists. But with Nats Park switching over to Budweiser products this offseason and renaming entire swaths of the ballpark anyway, it’s an easy fit. The red and white color scheme is already ubiquitous. And besides, the Cardinals already own the place.

Navy Federal Credit Union Park

As any avid sports television viewer can tell you, Navy Federal certainly has a healthy advertising budget these days, with spots running constantly during local games. The strong military community in Washington makes it a natural fit for a big sponsorship play, as do the teams’ numerous military activations. Plus, the team plays in Navy Yard. Almost too easy?

Lockheed Martin Park

There are plenty of defense contractors with heavy ties to the District, but with its corporate headquarters in Bethesda, we’ll give Lockheed the nod over McLean-based Booz Allen Hamilton, which owns a building just down Half Street from the center field gates. Besides, Lockheed Martin Park (The Lock?) rolls off the tongue a little better than the alternatives. Don’t sleep on Northrop Grumman, though, with a home base in Falls Church and existing ties as the lead sponsor for the Military Bowl in Annapolis.

Five Guys Park

You might think the asking price is out of range for a local hamburger shop, but business is booming for the now 30-year-old chain that started in Arlington County. They hit 1,000 locations in 2003 and have another 1,500 that have opened or are in development since then. Texas-based Whataburger already sponsors the Corpus Christi Hooks’ ballpark. Could Five Guys be ready to throw down the gauntlet by jumping into the Major League naming rights game? They could slide right into Shake Shack’s spot on the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk Budweiser Terrace.

Walgreens Park

Yes, you know why. No rebranding would even be necessary, just the slight tweak of the curl on the W. D.C. residents have long confused the two, so why not bring them together at long last? All the silly arguments over whose logo came first can go by the wayside. Although it might still be a little early to call the ballpark “The Dubya” without seeming partisan.

(1/7)

WASHINGTON — As the Sports Business Journal reported Wednesday, the Washington Nationals have enlisted Korn Ferry, an LA-based executive search and advisory firm, to try to sell the naming rights to the now nine-year-old Nationals Park.

With the 2018 All-Star Game on the horizon and development in the Navy Yard neighborhood finally rolling ahead at full steam, the timing makes sense. But who would that naming rights sponsor be?

The SBJ story cited the New York Mets’ deal with Citi (20 years, $400 million) and Atlanta Braves’ deal with SunLife (25 years, $250 million) as comparable deals that the Nats are looking for, although the $20 million average annual value of those two deals is considerably above industry average. Consider Minute Maid’s 28-year deal in Houston ($178 million, or $6.36 million per year) or Globe Life’s recent 10-year deal in Arlington, Texas ($50 million/$5 million per year) for other major markets, and the range would appear to be somewhere in the middle.

So while $20 million a year may seem a bit much to ask for a park that is neither new, nor in New York, it wouldn’t be inconceivable for the Nats to pull more than the Rangers and Astros did in similar markets, given inflation over the past few years. Even so, if $7-$10 million per year feels like a reasonable window, that would immediately exclude most local businesses from the opportunity.

With the scope narrowed, which businesses might make sense to jump into the naming rights game? We came up with seven potential names, some more serious than others, that might be ready to jump into the fray.

Flip through the slides above and let us know what you think in the comments. And yes, the photoshops are meant to be terrible.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up