For Sale: The Name Of Nashville’s New Downtown Baseball Stadium

The Memphis Redbirds entered into a 25 year naming rights agreement with AutoZone in 1999. In exchange, the team receives around $172,000 from the company each year. Image: Sean Davis/Flickr

The Memphis Redbirds entered into a 25 year naming rights agreement with AutoZone in 1999. In exchange, the team receives around $172,000 from the company each year. Image: Sean Davis/Flickr

Construction will begin in the next few months on a new, downtown baseball stadium for the Nashville Sounds. The stadium doesn’t yet have a name, but the team’s agreement with the city allows it to sell naming rights for the first time.

The Sounds’ old stadium had to remain named after businessman Herschel Greer. An attempt in the early 2000s to sell the rights on eBay ended as soon as then-Mayor Bill Purcell’s administration got word of it. Now, the team is looking for a company that’s willing to attach its brand to the new stadium.

A naming rights deal for the Sounds will likely bring in somewhere in the low-to-mid six figures each year, says MTSU sports marketing professor Don Roy. Memphis’ minor league baseball team, the Redbirds, gets around $172,000 a year from AutoZone. Roy says the rights will be important for the Sounds, because minor league teams don’t see a large amount of money coming in from broadcast and merchandise deals.

“The other revenue streams aren’t as plentiful as they are for major league sports properties,” Roy said.

First Tennessee Bank attached its name to the Sounds’ previous downtown stadium proposal, which was scuttled in 2009. A spokesman for the bank says it’s not involved in any discussions with the team for the new ballpark.

Officials with the Sounds aren’t ready to say when they’ll announce the new stadium’s name.

“[Naming rights are] an inventory item that the team will control and sell. We will definitely be releasing that information as soon as possible,” assistant general manager Doug Scopel said in an email.


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