Routine Baseball has filed a lawsuit against Milwaukee Milkmen (independent; American Association) ownership, contending that it never formally granted permission for use of its branding at Routine Field.
Last September, Milkmen ownership entity ROC Ventures–backed by managing partner Mike Zimmerman–and Franklin, WI-based apparel company Routine Baseball announced a naming-rights agreement for Routine Field, the home of the Milkmen that opened this summer. Prior to that announcement, the two sides agreed on a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) in July spelling out the terms of the naming-rights deal, which called for Routine to pay $150,000 annually for five years and for related company Complex Solutions LLC to become ROC Ventures’ exclusive merchandise and promotional product provider. In addition, the LOI called for ROC Ventures to receive 15 percent ownership stakes in Routine and Complex, while Routine assumed an 85 percent share of Lifestyle Sports Apparel LLC and received first rights to have a retail location in the development surrounding the ballpark.
However, Routine alleges in the lawsuit–which was filed Friday–that the LOI was never negotiated to the point where a formal agreement was reached. In the lawsuit, it accuses of ROC Ventures of placing its branding around the ballpark despite not having formal permission to do so, while owing more than $100,000 in unpaid invoices to Complex. Zimmerman is refuting these claims, though Routine executives are standing by the allegations made in their complaint. More from BizTimes Milwaukee:
“For a company to claim they never had a contract for a naming rights deal but at the same point call the naming rights deal ‘the biggest milestone yet’ for their company via their website and social media channels doesn’t seem to add up,” Zimmerman wrote to BizTimes Milwaukee in an email.
He pointed to a July television interview Routine president Michael DeGrave participated in that highlighted how the naming rights benefited his company.
DeGrave declined to respond to any of Zimmerman’s comments, except to say “that we have confidence in each and every allegation in our complaint.”
The lawsuit alleges the signage at the field with Routine’s name and logo was installed without the company’s approval, entities related to ROC Ventures piled up more than $100,000 in unpaid merchandise invoices and infringed on Routine trademarks by advertising a giveaway with “unlawfully obtained Bobbleheads.”
Routine Field opened in June. It is part of the larger ROC Ventures-led Ballpark Commons development, located in the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin.
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