The 'U.S. Cellular' Field name stays for now

The 'U.S. Cellular' Field name stays for now
November 7, 2012, 3:33 pm
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The news that broke early Wednesday morning that U.S. Cellular was selling some of its business units to SprintNextel, and exiting the Chicago market could have a major impact on the Chicago sports landscape as the company has been a significant advertising presence with some of Chicago's professional sports teams.
Their most visible sponsorship and advertising deal is the naming rights deal that they signed in 2003 to rename the new Comiskey Park "U.S. Cellular Field" for 68 million over 20 years. The agreement pays the White Sox 3.4 million per season for the stadium's name, and also includes an agreement to purchase significant advertising with the White Sox each season as a corporate sponsor.
U.S. Cellular released a statement this morning that the White Sox posted on their official Twitter account saying naming rights will not be changed for now.
"At @USCellular, we are proud of our partnership w the WhiteSox and the experience fans have at U.S. Cellular Field. Our naming rights to the ballpark are not part of this deal with Sprint...The WhiteSox are a great partner & we look forward to continuing our relationship with them."
Sources in the telecom industry told me this morning that they expect to see some or all of the U.S. Cellular phone stores gone from the market and a major push to further establish the SprintNextel name in the Chicago area.
"They already have customers here and they already have a brand here, so by expanding their name here they will greatly increase their footprint in the market. They already have an arena naming rights deal in Kansas City with the Sprint Center Arena so this would make sense to increase their brand awareness in the Chicago area," said Jon Greenberg, the editor of the well-respected Team Marketing Report.
While news of the U.S. Cellular sale to Sprint for 480 million broke this morning, it is not expected to be officially completed until the middle of 2013 and does not include naming rights for the ballpark for now.