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Killebrew Field

So Who Gets to Name the New Twins Ballpark?

June 6, 2006 12:30 AM

OK, that's what I would call it. Unfortunately, I don't have enough money to buy the naming rights -- but maybe if we all pooled our pennies...?

On the other hand, with asterisks swirling around the game, maybe there is some gigantic corporation interested in attaching its name to a paragon of baseball virtue. Maybe somebody like Hormel might want to honor a true, homerun-hitting, Hall of Fame, non-performance-enhanced legend:

Killebrew Field at Hormel Park

Now, that has a real ring to it!

It would certainly be a 180-degree turn from the current naming culture:

- Citizens Bank Park (blue suit, red tie)
- Great American Ballpark (insurance with cheese)
- Ameriquest Field (made-up corporate crap word)

Clearly, there is a pattern here. But if the Twins are going to go down that same path, there have been precious few clues about it. This is a little odd given how visible the TCF naming deal was to the University of Minnesota's stadium drive.

All the speculation I've read starts out with the list of local companies who might have the resources. But it might be helpful to look more closely at the naming trends in major league parks. I'll stick to baseball parks because the naming deals are at least partly the result of the economic conditions of the sport. In other words, a company which might be able to work with an NFL team (Ford Motor Company, for example) may not be able to work within the economics of baseball. (I'm assuming this, without doing any heavy research on the subject.)

To the right is the list of companies which currently have their names on major league baseball parks, sorted by business category.

Some things are obvious: money companies rule. But if you look a little more closely, other guiding principles can be teased out.

First, all of these companies sell products directly to the public. In other words, they do not supply parts or manufacture goods which are then repackaged for marketing. The company name is right there on the product. Wholesalers and other strictly business-to-business entities are utterly absent.

Second, they are industries in which there is fierce competition -- where consumers have choices. There are no drug companies, and no medical supply or manufacturing companies even though they have gobs of cash to spend. No one goes into the operating room saying, "I only want a Medtronic brand pacemaker!"

Third, successful sales in these industries often lead to long-term relationships with customers. It's a hassle to change your bank, your insurance company, or your phone company. Though it's not a hassle to change soft drinks, people get into habits, and catching the customer's attention can lead to years of repeat business.

Fourth, the goods they sell have very large target markets. The closest thing to a niche marketer on the list is Petco, but a whole lot of people have pets. In the case of McAfee, the stadium bearing their name is in the heart of software country, meaning their products and services are in great local demand.

Fifth, beyond just being companies, these are all brands. Developing a brand identity takes a long time, so budgets and results are often measured in decades rather than quarters or years. This is the scale on which naming deals are made.

What am I missing?

It's also interesting to look at the other arena names in our own market. Neither of them fall into the categories above, but some of the principles apply.

Target certainly doesn't have to build a brand identity here, but it does have to stave off competition from Wal-Mart. I look at that name as a sort of marking of their territory.

Xcel is a little more complicated because, as a utility, consumers don't really have a choice about whether they will use their products and services (who else can you buy your electricity from?). More likely is that the name was still very new (replacing the venerable NSP and Minnegasco), and having it on an arena aided the integration of the new identity. I'm not sure I understand this one at all, so I'm open to suggestions.

Returning to the categories above, at left are Minnesota companies from the Fortune 1000 which fit the five criteria. I eliminated all the medical, chemical and business-to-business companies, as well as a few oddballs which really have no chance of factoring into this equation. (The complete list is available here.)

Two things allow for the possibility that it will be a company not on this list. First, it would not necessarily have to be a Minnesota-based company, though it would probably need a substantial presence here to make the investment worthwhile (see sidebar below). Second, there might be an up-and-coming company just off the list which could use stadium naming to further establish a growing brand.

For that possibility, I give you the Star Tribune 100 (cached here with a link to the original because the Strib purges all the interesting information almost as fast as they post it -- what is it with newspaper web sites? They are not very friendly.)

I tried to find a comprehensive list of major employers in Minnesota, but it's difficult to come by.

A couple of major names not on any of these lists could also get into the running. Qwest, DirecTV, DishNet and Time-Warner Cable are all in the running for the very large internet and television market. And all of the cell phone companies in the market could have their eyes on this project as well.

To begin sorting through these lists, we have to consider what a company gains by getting their name on a stadium.

Because this is all about advertising, and because it's the ultimate in short-form advertising, the most suited companies will already have some brand recognition, be in a business everyone needs, have a product which requires little or no explanation, and have gigantic profit margins and gobs of cash.

(I know I said above that medical/drug companies are out, but given the huge amounts of money currently being spent on drug advertising on TV, can it be long before we're watching games being played in Levitra Park?)

Stadium naming cannot be any company's entire advertising budget, so it simply serves as a reinforcer, and a way to worm their name into a community's collective subconscious. And it only works over the long-term. Lasting sales gains may only be seen five to ten years down the road.

The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley

The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)

As for companies with brands to promote, Hormel seems to leap out of the list. Taking a look at their brands, it's clear that the Hormel name is everywhere. Rather than using a sub-brand (like Spam), they could simply go with Hormel Field and gain exceptional brand exposure.

There are also a great many possibilities on the General Mills brand list. It might be hard to pick just one brand, unless it's Wheaties Field (I could live with that).

So I'm throwing this long list of company names out there. And though I think all of these companies are in the running, I also have a hunch that
other factors may play some sort of role in this transaction.

All of this leaves out the best way to name a park: after the team's history. Right now there is certainly some sentiment for Puckett Park, and it would be difficult to pick one legend over another. But Killebrew was here at the beginning, hit all those homeruns, played for peanuts because he loved the game, and is just about the nicest guy you'll ever meet. Naming a park after him would say something to future generations about what is important to the game.

Of course, the same may be said about naming a ballpark after a big bank.


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The largest company that was left off the list is Ameriprise Financial. The company just spun off from American Express, has a 110 year history in the Twin Citites, and is a fortune 300 company.

I believe it was probably left off the list because it is such a new company. IDS was the companies original name.

My personal favorite is "Summit Field" but I know that Summit doesn't have the funds to name the stadium.

Posted on June 6, 2006 at 11:25 AM by MOJO Highlight this comment 1

Thanks for the plug MOJO. Glad to see you on this site. The next four years should be fun.

Posted on June 6, 2006 at 4:22 PM by Jiminstpaul Highlight this comment 2

They were bought out but I thought the name Marshall Fields (formerly Dayton's) would have been really good.

Posted on June 7, 2006 at 2:36 PM by ASW Highlight this comment 3

Land O' Lakes seems to be the most discreet, natural sounding corporate name.

Posted on June 7, 2006 at 4:33 PM by CG Highlight this comment 4

I think somthing like Northwest Park has a ring to it without sounding to corporate. I don't know if the current situation for of the airline would allow for this though.

Posted on June 9, 2006 at 7:17 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 5

Killabrew Field @ (whatever corporate name) Park sounds good. It's kind of like Oriole Park @ Camden Yards.

Posted on July 9, 2006 at 10:09 PM by tito Highlight this comment 6

Love Kilabrew Field - perhaps Puckett Park in center??

I think General Mills would be a nice company to buy the rights... of course I would rather have no naming rights given away but I doubt that will happen.

Posted on August 15, 2006 at 3:16 PM by merm Highlight this comment 7

Kirby Puckett Field/Park @ Northwest/Deluxe/Caribou/Hormel/Buca Park (or something like that). I think the park should have a water feature (stream running through the concourses, fountain in the outfield, etc.) dedicated to Bob Casey/Harmon Killebrew.

Posted on November 12, 2006 at 5:09 PM by PC Highlight this comment 8

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Posted on May 21, 2007 at 9:36 PM by nierkyw kzhf Highlight this comment 9

Killebrew Field @ Hormel Park - Home of the 1/2 pound Spam-burger!

Posted on May 24, 2007 at 3:55 PM by b Highlight this comment 10

how about Qwest Park

Posted on May 31, 2007 at 08:06 AM by john Highlight this comment 11

How about Wellstone Memorial Stadium

Posted on June 2, 2007 at 4:03 PM by twinky Highlight this comment 12

"How about Wellstone Memorial Stadium"

Yes, a man that was all for taking my tax money and spending it in stupid ways should be celebrated at this giant waste of money.

Posted on June 8, 2007 at 11:03 PM by Mr. T. Highlight this comment 13

I like the Qwest PArk Idea qwest has a huge presence here in minnesota with there business groups in bot minneapolis and st paul

Posted on July 4, 2007 at 1:11 PM by mariahS Highlight this comment 14

Why in the world would Minneapolis name their new stadium for a shady company like Qwest who is headquartered in Denver and not Minneapolis? No Qwest anything. Besides who really uses home phone service anymore (cell phones everywhere) or wants to promote slow DSL service from Qwest? I think Best Buy or 3M has a really good shot at to be honest. And it should be named after a Minneapolis company anyways not something outstate like Hormel (as this is Minneapolis & Hennepin County's park since they are paying the lion's share of it). Also, why would we want to name a ballpark after a hot dog brand???

Posted on July 17, 2007 at 12:07 AM by betaband Highlight this comment 15

what about cargill?

Posted on August 13, 2007 at 5:23 PM by Peter Highlight this comment 16


With that logic, you can't mention 3M since they are in St. Paul (Maplewood). You could make a case for General Mills since they are in Golden Valley in Hennepin County but not Minneapolis.

Regarding Qwest. Not everyone uses cell phones as their daily phone like you claim. Not everyone wants to use Comcast for their Internet service. Just a tad over the top with the generalizations, wouldn't you agree?

Posted on April 3, 2008 at 07:30 AM by nalts Highlight this comment 17

Tim Pawlenty's User Fee Stadium

Posted on April 4, 2008 at 3:13 PM by Irritable Man Highlight this comment 18

Invisible Hand Park, in honor of the economist/hero of all the "conservative" Republicans who voted for public financing of a private enterprise owned by a billionaire and employing millionaire players who don't pay taxes in MN because they don't live here.

Posted on April 4, 2008 at 3:15 PM by Adam Smith Highlight this comment 19

@ Irritable Man & Adam Smith-

I assume you guys are one in the same. Two negative posts, two minutes apart on the same day.

I hate to break it to you, but it was the "liberal" Democrats from Hennepin County that voted this thing through. If you don't like your tax dollars going to a stadium, don't buy stuff in Hennepin County.

Posted on April 11, 2008 at 3:40 PM by nalts Highlight this comment 20


Posted on April 18, 2008 at 04:49 AM by JtIEWFFIgwz Highlight this comment 21

don't players pay income taxes in whatever state they earn income in? so their pay for a three day road trip in New York will by taxed in New York for those three games? I can't imagine the state governments in the country not trying to get their cut of the salaries that these guys pull down.

As a side note to Adam Smith, the players live here from April until October, That's six months. They're at least half-time residents.

And as an aside to nalts, pork-barrel spending knows no party intimately, but knows all parties well ;-)

Posted on May 18, 2008 at 08:35 AM by DP5 Highlight this comment 22

I think It also could be named with something like Medtronic Or in honor of Kirby Pucket.

Posted on June 12, 2008 at 3:25 PM by DfsVKDLb Highlight this comment 23

Puckett Park for Killer Field...or stick one to Milwaukee with Killer Park.

Any chance in heck of the suits approving the name Killer?

Didn't think so

Posted on July 14, 2008 at 3:31 PM by E Highlight this comment 24

I think with Delta and Northwest merging, Delta could attempt to gain recognition because they are not as well known here but now will have a major hub here. Oil prices might push them off the list, otherwise US Bank I think has a good shot, I know they have steered clear of most of the bad mortgages out there although no one is out of the woods. Minneapolis Based Too!

Posted on July 14, 2008 at 6:49 PM by Bryan Highlight this comment 25


Posted on July 24, 2008 at 8:14 PM by uSuRrvalNIsS Highlight this comment 26

I think Land o Lakes stays true to Minnesota the land of 10 thousand lakes. I recently read a really funny article on this naming issue. Go to - . This guys puts a really funny spin to this whole naming thing,

Posted on August 26, 2008 at 5:49 PM by Lenny Highlight this comment 27

I still have no idea why Carlson would not have paid to have the park built, so he could create a signature piece for his own Carlson Companies to create a legacy for himself and the company...since he does own the Twins and he cannot take his millions with him. Since he didn't and the taxpayers are paying for it, why\how can that even be legal to sell naming rights to a publically funded stadium? Will we get paid back out tax dollars when the rights are sold? IF not then we should get to pick the name!!! Just to be clear it was an independent, two democrates and a republican (all men) that approve the stadium tax.

Posted on September 7, 2008 at 12:33 AM by t Highlight this comment 28

Denny Hecker Stadium

Posted on September 20, 2008 at 9:44 PM by u Highlight this comment 29


You're confusing two different men. Carl Pohlad is the billionaire banker who's family owns the Twins. Curt Carlson was the billionaire travel mogul who's family owns Carlson Companies.

Posted on September 30, 2008 at 01:56 AM by nalts Highlight this comment 30


Posted on October 13, 2008 at 8:09 PM by CHAD Highlight this comment 31

Star Tribune 100 (2006)

I've bolded those which I think could actually be a possibility (and a couple I wish could be...)

1 Target Corp. - Retail/Service
2 UnitedHealth Group - Health/Medical
3 Best Buy Co. Inc. - Retail/Service
4 St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc. - Financial Service
5 3M Co. - Manufacturing
6 Supervalu Inc. - Retail/Service
7 U.S. Bancorp - Financial Service
8 Northwest Airlines Corp. - Retail/Service
9 General Mills Inc. - Manufacturing
10 Medtronic Inc. - Health/Medical
11 Xcel Energy Inc. - Utility
12 Ameriprise Financial Inc. - Financial Service
13 C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. - Retail/Service
14 Hormel Foods Corp. - Manufacturing
15 Mosaic Co. - Manufacturing
16 Nash Finch Co. - Retail/Service
17 Ecolab Inc. - Manufacturing
18 PepsiAmericas Inc. - Manufacturing
19 Bemis Co. Inc. - Manufacturing
20 Alliant Techsystems - Manufacturing
21 Pentair Inc. - Manufacturing
22 St. Jude Medical Inc. - Health/Medical
23 Valspar Corp. - Manufacturing
24 Patterson Companies Inc. - Health/Medical
25 Regis Corp. - Retail/Service
26 Polaris Industries Inc. - Manufacturing
27 The Toro Co. - Manufacturing
28 Deluxe Corp. - Financial Service
29 Donaldson Co. Inc. - Manufacturing
30 Fastenal Co. - Retail/Service
31 H.B. Fuller Co. - Manufacturing
32 Ceridian Corp. - Information Technology
33 Imation Corp. - Information Technology
34 TCF Financial Corp. - Financial Service
35 ADC Telecommunications Inc. - Information Technology
36 Otter Tail Corp. - Utility
37 MoneyGram International Inc. - Financial Service
38 G&K Services Inc. - Retail/Service
39 Pemstar Inc. - Manufacturing
40 Fair Isaac Corp. - Financial Service
41 Gander Mountain Co. - Retail/Service
42 Piper Jaffray Companies - Financial Service
43 Allete - Utility
44 Arctic Cat Inc. - Manufacturing
45 Graco Inc. - Manufacturing
46 ValueVision Media Inc. - Retail/Service
47 Select Comfort Corp. - Manufacturing
48 Apogee Enterprises Inc. - Manufacturing
49 Hutchinson Technology Inc. - Information Technology
50 Navarre Corp. - Retail/Service
51 Tennant Co. - Manufacturing
52 Rural Cellular Corp. - Utility
53 Christopher & Banks Corp. - Retail/Service
54 MAIR Holdings Inc. - Retail/Service
55 Entegris Inc. - Manufacturing
56 Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc. - Retail/Service
57 Life Time Fitness Inc. - Retail/Service
58 MTS Systems Corp. - Information Technology
59 Lawson Software - Information Technology
60 Lenox Group Inc. - Retail/Service
61 Analysts International Corp. - Retail/Service
62 Sportsman's Guide Inc. - Retail/Service
63 MGI Pharma Inc. - Health/Medical
64 American Medical Systems Holdings Inc. - Health/Medical
65 ASV Inc. - Manufacturing
66 Buca Inc. - Retail/Service
67 Eschelon Telecom Inc. - Information Technology
68 Digital River Inc. - Information Technology
69 Innovex Inc. - Information Technology
70 Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. - Retail/Service
71 Caribou Coffee Co. - Retail/Service
72 Techne Corp. - Health/Medical
73 Golf Galaxy Inc. - Retail/Service
74 Zomax Inc. - Retail/Service
75 KMG America Corp. - Financial Service
76 Hawkins Inc. - Manufacturing
77 EV3 Inc. - Health/Medical
78 Digi International Inc. - Information Technology
79 Plato Learning Inc. - Information Technology
80 Stellent Inc. - Retail/Service
81 Datalink Corp. - Information Technology
82 Communications Systems Inc. - Information Technology
83 CNS Inc. - Health/Medical
84 Famous Dave's of America Inc. - Retail/Service
85 Rimage Corp. - Information Technology
86 HickoryTech Corp. - Telecommunications/Utility
87 FSI International Inc. - Manufacturing
88 Nortech Systems Inc. - Manufacturing
89 Identix Inc. - Information Technology
90 Stratasys Inc. - Information Technology
91 Fargo Electronics Inc. - Information Technology
92 Appliance Recycling Centers of America - Retail/Service
93 SoftBrands Inc. - Information Technology
94 HMN Financial Inc. - Financial Service
95 SurModics Inc. - Health/Medical
96 Medtox Scientific Inc. - Health/Medical
97 Possis Medical Inc. - Health/Medical
98 Synovis Life Technologies Inc. - Health/Medical
99 RTW Inc. - Financial Service
100 Lifecore Biomedical Inc. - Health/Medical

Source: Star Tribune
Copyright 2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.

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September 23, 2007

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BPM - Ballpark Magic

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HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

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LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

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NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

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