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More Than Just Naming Rights: T-Mobile and the Mariners

T-Mobile Park

When T-Mobile stepped up to buy naming rights to the home of the Seattle Mariners, the firm did more than just slap a magenta logo on the former Safeco Field: It stepped up with an extensive program to reward its customers.

We’ve all seen naming-rights deals evolve in recent years past just the name and exterior branding. The T-Mobile deal is worth a look as a model that can be used for both Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball facilities.

T-Mobile is fond of the guerrilla marketing as well as an irreverent attitude, and Opening Day at T-Mobile Park reflected that marketing ethos, with a stress on hometown favorites. The festivities began with a pre-game performance by Seattle native Macklemore in the T-Mobile ‘Pen, limited to the first  2,000 fans.

T-Mobile Park

Speaking of the T-Mobile ‘Pen: the telecomm firm also took over naming rights to one of the best places to view an MLB baseball game, opening 2.5 hours before game time for batting practice and pitcher warm-ups. T-Mobile customers will have their own dedicated entry to the T-Mobile ‘Pen as well. New at the T-Mobile ‘Pen: The Magenta Mojo cocktail, crafted by 2019 James Beard Award Semifinalist Anu Apte. It will also be available at the Terrace Club Lounges and Lookout Landing.

T-Mobile has also installed 19 high-speed charging areas throughout the park, including lockers.

In addition, T-Mobile is sponsoring special events on Tuesday games, offering its customers VIP seat upgrades as well as free food, beverages and Mariners gear.

There will be other tech displays from T-Mobile over the course of the 25-year naming-rights deal; right now the emphasis is on augmented and virtual reality.

Interestingly, we have seen some guerrilla marketing targeted back toward T-Mobile: market-research firm Tutela issued a research report indicating that, in the past, rival Verizon offered the best wireless service to T-Mobile Park. However, with T-Mobile tripling cell capacity at the ballpark, that’s changed. From a Tutela press release:

Between January 1, 2019 when the stadium was officially renamed, and March 21, Verizon has maintained its lead in average download throughput and excellent consistent quality overall (29.7 Mbps and 90.8% excellent consistent quality, compared to 9.7Mbps and 73.8% excellent consistent quality for T-Mobile), although it is important to note that this is based on less than three months of data.

However, T-Mobile’s increased capacity is already paying off: during last night’s training match against the San Diego Padres, Tutela’s data shows T-Mobile had the most consistent network in the stadium. T-Mobile’s excellent consistent quality averaged 86.8% during the game – despite thousands of fans pouring into the stadium. However, Verizon still recorded a faster average download speed, at 22.8 Mbps.

Solid connectivity at a sporting event is a big deal, so it’s no surprise vendors — and the competitors of vendors — are taking aim at T-Mobile here.

For a look at what else the Mariners unveiled at T-Mobile Park this year, check out Zach Spedden’s preview of the 2019 season.

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