Although a pending merger could eventually prompt a ballpark name change, the Atlanta Braves expect the SunTrust Park moniker to remain intact for the 2019 season.
Early last month, it was revealed that financial institutions SunTrust and BB&T Corp. plan to merge, which would result in the combined companies operating under a yet-to-be-announced central identity. Once it is announced, that new name would likely have implications on the identity of SunTrust Park–home of the Braves for the past two seasons, and our 2017 Ballpark of the Year.
Any name change, however, is not expected to affect the ballpark’s identity for the 2019 season. While the timing of when a new identity will be revealed remains to be seen, the Braves are planning for the SunTrust Park name to remain in place during the upcoming campaign. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“We have been told by SunTrust that there is not going to be a name change during the course of this season,” Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller said. “The announcement of when they would change the name has not been revealed to us, other than we know for the 2019 season it will remain SunTrust Park.
“We will market it as SunTrust Park and operate it in the same way (as the past two seasons) without any restrictions during the course of the year.”
SunTrust’s pending merger with BB&T, announced last month, will result in a new and not-yet-determined name for the combined banks, the companies have said. That will lead to a new name for the Braves stadium, although the 25-year naming-rights contract will remain in place.
The contract “contemplates there can be changes during the course of a long agreement to the name SunTrust,” Schiller said. “We’d be the first to tell you we didn’t contemplate that (becoming an issue) in the first couple of years of the ballpark, but regardless, the legal agreement has language that makes it such that both parties know what they need to do to deal with change.”
The naming-rights partnership between the Braves and SunTrust was first announced in 2014. Notably, BB&T has also been a major player in sports facility naming rights, including various ballparks around affiliated minor league and independent baseball. That includes the BB&T Ballpark moniker used for the homes of the Winston-Salem Dash (High A; Carolina League) and Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League), BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field for the Williamsport Crosscutters (Short Season A; NY-Penn League), and the High Point Rockers’ (independent; Atlantic League) upcoming BB&T Point, which will host its first game on May 2.
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