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Knights notch another major sponsor

Charlotte KnightsWith city politicians still debating whether to help fund a new Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League) ballpark, the team has signed another major sponsor: Piedmont Natural Gas.

The Charlotte-based firm is the first founding partner for a proposed uptown Charlotte ballpark. Mecklenburg County has already committed $8 million and a low-cost land lease for the $54-million ballpark; the Knights are asking the city for $8.5 million over 30 years in a combination of tourism-tax proceeds and property-tax rebates, a deal city officials are still mulling. The rest of the construction costs would be borne by the team.

“We believe this agreement provides a unique opportunity for Piedmont Natural Gas to make a positive and lasting impact on the city of Charlotte,” said Thomas Skains, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Piedmont Natural Gas. “A new ballpark in uptown Charlotte will create new jobs, fuel additional business activity and add a great family-friendly option to Center City’s entertainment mix.

“We understand important decisions still need to be made, but Piedmont looks forward to supporting what we believe will be an economic development home run for Charlotte and the region.”

“We are extremely proud to announce Piedmont Natural Gas as our first founding partner for the Knights’ proposed uptown stadium,” said Don Beaver, managing partner for the Charlotte Knights. “This agreement and our previously announced naming-rights agreement with BB&T clearly show how much the community wants Knights baseball in uptown Charlotte, and we look forward to sharing news of additional partnerships soon.”

Under the sponsorship agreement, Piedmont will receive a package of signage and other promotional opportunities, starting with the Knights’ inaugural season in the new ballpark, scheduled to open in April 2014.

It’s the second major financial announcement for the Knights in the last two weeks: BB&T has already signed on as naming-rights partner.

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