|BB&T, Knights reach ballpark deal|
|Bank's name would go on uptown stadium|
|Published Monday, April 23, 2012 12:47 pm|
|An artist's rendering of the proposed Charlotte Knights stadium uptown. Winston-Salem-based BB&T and the Knights announced a deal Monday in which the bank will become the naming-rights sponsor for the proposed BB&T Ballpark.|
BB&T Corporation will become the naming-rights sponsor for Charlotte Knights’ baseball stadium in uptown.
The agreement, which was announced Monday, is a major step in the Knights’ campaign to move back to Charlotte after 22 years in Fort Mill, S.C. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Knights, the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, needs $37.5 million to build the proposed BB&T Ballpark next to the future Romare Bearden Park. Charlotte City Council is considering whether to approve $8.5 million to help the franchise build the park in Third Ward. Mecklenburg County commissioners have voted to provide $28 million in infrastructure upgrades and property.
“We understand approval of the stadium is a process and critical decisions still need to be made,” said Wes Beckner, regional president of BB&T’s Charlotte metro region. “If those decisions are positive, we are delighted to support what we believe will be a tremendous economic catalyst for Charlotte and the region.”
The stadium would carry the BB&T name and include signage and promotional opportunities, starting in 2014 when the Knights move in. The planned 10,000-seat stadium is also expected to help Charlotte attract high school and college baseball tournaments and concerts.
“We are excited to have BB&T join our team as we create a vibrant new entertainment center in uptown Charlotte,” Knights Managing Partner Don Beaver said. …Our partnership significantly increases the excitement, credibility and economic feasibility of our proposed uptown stadium. We couldn’t be prouder to have the BB&T name atop what will be a magnificent addition to the Charlotte landscape.”
Before former Knights owner George Shinn moved the team to South Carolina, Charlotte was home to the Charlotte O’s, which played at the former Crockett Park in South End. Proponents have long argued that bringing baseball back to Charlotte would be good for the city’s economic and sports landscape.
“BB&T is committed to supporting the communities in which we work and live,” he said. “We believe a new baseball stadium in a spectacular setting in uptown Charlotte will create jobs and attract business investment with new restaurants and other businesses. It also will draw crowds to a family-friendly, affordable environment.”
Winston-Salem-based BB&T has grown its marketing footprint through sports. The bank has deals with the Atlantic Coast Conference, Richard Childress Racing and the Wyndham Championship golf tournament in Greensboro. The bank has naming rights to Wake Forest University’s football stadium, as well as that of the Winston-Salem Dash, a minor-league baseball franchise.
“The proposed stadium is a compelling opportunity for us to extend the BB&T brand in Charlotte, an important market for BB&T,” said Pete Zifchak, BB&T senior vice president of corporate sports marketing and event planning. “We carefully select our sports marketing partnerships to ensure that they have a positive impact on the community and elevate the profile of BB&T in the region. Triple-A baseball in the attractive setting of uptown Charlotte will enhance the area’s vibrancy and raise the awareness of BB&T and our commitment to the communities we serve.”
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