The City of Norfolk is looking to sell the naming rights to Harbor Park, the home of the Norfolk Tides (Class AAA; International League).
Harbor Park opened in 1993, and has kept its original name throughout its history. However, facing a future that is expected to include continued investment in the ballpark, the city is looking into its options for selling the naming rights.
The city controls the naming rights for Harbor Park, and is reportedly seeking a bid in the range of $400,000 to $500,000 annually. Revenue generated by the naming rights sale could, in turn, be placed into a fund for capital improvements, but the final decision would be left to the Norfolk City Council. More from The Virginian Pilot:
Spectra, a Philadelphia-based hosting and entertainment company that also specializes in venue management, is trying to find a paying rights-holder, said John Rhamstine, who oversees Norfolk’s cultural venues.
“I’m not aware of anybody that they have on tap yet, but they’re out hunting,” Rhamstine said. “That’s for sure.”
Naming-rights agreements, Rhamstine said, are typically for 10 years , meaning the city could reap a $4 million to $5 million windfall over the course of a contract.
That money, Rhamstine hopes, could be put into a capital account for improvements to the downtown ballpark, which turns 25 this year. But the final decision on use of the funds would be determined by the city council.
“Regardless,” Rhamstine said, “it’s the city’s money.”
Under an agreement between the Tides and the city, Norfolk is to invest $3 million in capital improvements or other upgrades over the first 10 years of a 15-year lease, and half of that figure was to be allocated within the first five years. That deal was struck in 2013, and the city is on track to raise its investment to roughly $2.5 million after planned upgrades to the box office and left field picnic area are complete.