By Don Muret
Stiff competition to name the Texas Rangers’ 20-year-old ballpark drove the price up for a facility that had gone without a corporate name for the past seven seasons. The deal for Globe Life Park, announced Feb. 5 and brokered by Premier Partnerships, the Rangers’ official sales agency, was reported locally to be a 10-year agreement valued at $5 million annually.
The $50 million agreement ranks third in Major League Baseball behind New York’s Citi Field(20 years, $400 million) and Houston’s Minute Maid Park ($178 million over 28 years), according to SportsBusiness Journal research.
Jeff Marks, Premier’s managing director, said there were four finalists to buy naming rights after Premier and the Rangers together contacted hundreds of companies over the past several months to gauge their interest.
One was Globe Life and Accident Insurance Co., which is based in Oklahoma City and owned by Torchmark, a McKinney, Texas, company. Globe Life has about 4 million policy holders and underwrites more than $60 billion in life insurance, according to the Rangers.
“We had multiple offers,” Marks said. “Some fell off as the numbers got higher.”
The relatively high number of companies serious enough to reach the bargaining table created leverage for the Rangers and worked in their favor for driving the highest possible value, Marks said.
The Rangers brought in Globe Life as a sales lead and ultimately selected the company, which has not previously had a presence in sports marketing, said Joe Januszewski, the team’s executive vice president of business partnerships and development.
The insurer’s commitment to donate funds to local youth baseball and softball programs through a partnership with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation helped drive the decision to choose Globe Life, Januszewski said.
REWARDING: Premier Partnerships’ first talks with the Rangers to help them sell naming rights took place in the lobby of the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square at the 2012 Sports Business Awards. SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily produces the annual event.
As Marks recalled, Robert Hernreich, a Rangers minority owner, had reached out to Premier principals, including President and CEO Randy Bernstein, and set up a meeting with Rick George, the team’s president of business operations before he left to take over as Colorado’s athletic director.
The Rangers told Premier officials they wanted to try to sell naming rights on their own, Marks said. Over time, the Rangers talked to many candidates but did not feel they were getting the value they wanted, and they went back to Premier for assistance.
About six months ago, Premier Partnerships signed a deal with the Rangers. The company developed a sales plan for the first two months before running a “full market blitz” the next two months and holding follow-up meetings with CEOs and C-level decision-makers the past two months.
“We helped them increase the value proposition to get the price and term they wanted,” Marks said.