Let’s say Tom Ricketts and family decide to complete depart from Chicago Cubs history and seek a naming-rights deal for Wrigley Field. How much are naming rights worth?
The answer: $15-20 million a year, according our old college classmate David Kaplan at CSNChicago. That sounds about right: the Cubs are a national team with a large national following, and any naming-rights exposure would certainly be good for the national firm that buys the rights.
All of this is conjecture, of course: no one really expects the Ricketts family to sell naming rights to Wrigley Field, but the topic did come up after it was announced that U.S. Cellular would be abandoning the Chicago market but keeping naming rights to U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. Fans already irritated at the family management of the team and its quest for public money for ballpark renovations would go absolutely ballistic. And no corporation official in their right mind would commit that kind of money to a naming-rights deal that would certainly create a backlash and consumer boycotts.
Of course, we’ve got to correct Kap on one point: the ballpark hasn’t been known as Wrigley Field for 100 years; that name was first applied by William Wrigley in 1926. Somewhere Charlie Weeghman is spinning in his grave.
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