TARGET FIELD: A HOME RUN FOR TWINS FANS

 

Since it became reality in May 2006, one of the most often-asked questions regarding Minnesota’s new ballpark revolved around what the facility would be called. Months and months of incredible speculation were answered earlier today when the Minnesota Twins and Target Corporation announced agreement in principle on an a historic new partnership that includes naming rights for Target Field – the new Hennepin County ballpark scheduled to open in 2010 — along with Target Plaza, which connects the ballpark to downtown Minneapolis.

 

Today’s announcement is the latest sign of tremendous momentum for the return of outdoor Major League Baseball. It also marks the culmination of a long-term team strategy and approach in relation to the naming of Minnesota’s new ballpark.

 

While many franchises conduct what may as well be called an “auction” for naming rights, I think it’s safe to say the Twins employed a somewhat non-traditional approach. For many years – even in advance of the necessary government approvals – at the urging of the Pohlad family the Twins contemplated what Minnesota’s new ballpark should be called. To that end, the team considered a variety of options – some corporate and even going with a non-corporate name. The bottom line was this: Minnesota’s new ballpark was going to be given a name which fans across Twins Territory could embrace.

 

Over time, the team engaged in discussions with several local and national companies each expressing interest in a ballpark naming rights relationship. The team was especially encouraged by the number of Minnesota legacy companies who showed interest in the ballpark project. As those discussions evolved, the most important elements for the team when considering potential corporate naming rights partners were as follows:

o   LOCAL

  Minnesota based, strong regional heritage, local leadership

o   FAMILY FOCUSED

  Brand consistency, Values

o   CIVIC ACTIVATION/STEWARDSHIP

  Plaza, Ballpark District, Downtown Minneapolis, Region

o   COMMUNITY/PHILANTRHOPY

  History of giving back

 

That’s where Target Corporation comes into the picture. Minnesota-based Target and the Twins have enjoyed a 20-plus year sponsorship relationship. With that existing partnership as a foundation, the Twins and Target engaged in serious discussions regarding opportunities surrounding the new ballpark and ultimately reached the agreement we are announcing today. Simply put, the Pohlad family and Twins organization is incredibly proud to have found what we consider to be a perfect naming rights partner.

 

As the Twins and Target announce this agreement, it’s clear that the partnership is about more than naming rights to Target Field. It’s about creating the ultimate fan experience; it’s about philanthropy; it’s about creating public gathering space (i.e. Target Plaza); it’s about building something iconic for downtown Minneapolis and the region; it’s about two Minnesota heritage brands combining resources and ideas.

 

While this agreement is clearly significant, it’s only the first in what promises to be a number of sponsorship related announcements surrounding Target Field. The team remains in serious discussions with many local and national companies about the next tier of sponsorship. The team expects to finalize up to four FOUNDING LEVEL partnerships – with various ballpark entitlements – in the near future.

 

Stay tuned for details as Opening Day 2010 at Target Field is less than 19 months away.

 

Win Twins!!!!

 

Dave St. Peter

President, Minnesota Twins

6 Comments

Dear Dave,

I sincerely appreciate the idea of partnerships around community and philanthropy. I understand that the Twins, the Pohlad’s and Target Corp. all have long histories of giving back to the community. Their philanthropy is important, necessary and beneficial to everyone.

I think it is wonderful that all three entities have worked together in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

What I don’t understand is why Twins fans need to be confronted with Target branding of our baseball present and future. Truly, there are alternatives to Target, but what do baseball fans want a connection with? Baseball or the place they buy their groceries and lawn furniture?

I have been a season ticket holder since 2002 and when I go to the Dome, I expect to see the Twins play their brand of fundamentally sound baseball, not to hear about how the Twins organization and Target or Best Buy are working together to give me and all Twins fans more in-game advertising and special deals when I shop at their stores.

I’ve been reading numerous comments on the Star Tribune page that features an article about Target Field. Many comments from readers urge fans to stop whining about the name of the field and suggest that we just simply refer to it as Twins Field.

This is distressing for the fact that as fans, we continue to allow ourselves to accept the overwhelming barrage of corporate sponsorship of EVERYTHING. From the lineups, to the old Snapper Mow `em Down Inning, to the official Milk/Soft Drink/Insurance Adjuster/Media Sponsor/Beer of the Minnesota Twins and everything in between.

I do understand that selling advertising space generates revenue for businesses like the Twins, but really, how much is too much?

MLB heard us around the league a few years back when we soundly rejected the ploy of putting Spider-man logos on the bases during game play.

I am looking forward to bringing my nieces and nephews to games at the new park, knowing they are going to a place that will be filled over the years with tradition, legacy, and great baseball moments and memories.

My father saw Killebrew, Oliva, Kaat, Grant and the rest at the Old Met. He brought my brother and I to the Met when we were kids in the mid to late`70’s. I was at the Dome for the `87 and `91 Championships with my father and brother.

I hate to think that I or my descendants will be at “Target” for future baseball glory.

Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,
Corey Sauer

Thank you Corey for bringing this issue to light. I have been a avid supporter of the new stadium and like yourself will continue the minnesota tradition in our park. It saddens me also to see such possitve steps by the Poland family in bringing such a beautiful park to our city and tarnish it’s name by associating the name with a corprate industry. No matter if it’s homegrown or not. where are the days when we name our pride state ballparks with honorable titles. Well i clearly see that money is the ultimate objective with our upper managment but this does not have to be with us the fans. I encourage all readers who side with these thoughts to enbrace the fans local title of the field. This can begin with Twins field, or have sections named after our time honored twins or it can be something else. I suggest when you go to the future games, listen to the fans see if there is something deeper the fans refer there home field by, other then Target which you can embrace. Target is only the name but we as fans have the responsibility to create its soul,it could have started with the name but history can change if we want it to. Thanks for your time and i’ll see you at Twins field in 2010, or the house the Mornuea built, or down at Twinkie Town! Or the PiranhaTank
Sincerely,
Peter Pawlowski

Dear Dave:
I feel like it should say “A home run for CORPORATE Twins fans”, and not because of the name. A generic local corporate naming rights type deal was going to happen, regardless of who/what the entity was. I’m referring to the ticket relocation package I received. Essentially, IMO, if you do not purchase a full season ticket, you get chumped. How many INDIVIDUALS have the time/money to go to an average of 3.5 games/week for 6 months? Not many. Yet they are bigger FANS than a lot of the people who just get their comped corporate tickets. Yet, in the new seating plan, even if you’ve been a 40 game plan buyer for the last 30+ years, you don’t even get the opportunity to buy a GOOD seat to the game, you must sit at the very top of the infield, or out between the infield dirt and outfield wall–and that’s only if there’s seats left after all the full season ticket buyers get done picking their seats. Additionally, the 40 game package holders no longer get to keep their seats for any post-season play. It wasn’t explained as to why that is, but I can only imagine because it’s to free up the seats so the big corporate season ticket holders can take those seats as well. I can see where people with 20 game packages may not even get the chance to buy playoff seats at all. Essentially, the Twins have taken away any incentive to pre-buy anything less than a full season ticket, which is a real shame. I’m more than willing to pay $$$ to have good seats for the games I have time to go to, but I won’t even get the opportunity. The seats I currently hold in the dome cost me $48 in 2008 dollars. The BEST seats I can possibly get in the new park are $38 in 2010 dollars. So, the Twins are forcing me to either upgrade to a full season ticket holder and become a scalper to unload the games I can’t get to (funny how the Twins for years would threaten to pull your seats if you resold them at all, now they advocate it), or just go buy the unused corporate seats off of the scalpers outside the park. It doesn’t make any sense, but I guess it makes $$$$.

I just got done checking out the new 3-D java imaging of Target Field seating. I was a little disappointed that there will be bleachers installed in the general area where the Home Run Porch seats are in the Dome and the ‘Home Run Porch’ seats are relagated to the second level. I don’t know if this is some attempt to create the bleacher bum section a la Cleveland of old, but I think the Home Run Porch should actually be at a level that a current Twins player could hit a ball. Mauer and Morneau, if they stick around, and maybe even Kubel will make a case that the ‘Home Run Porch’ should be in right field if anywhere. The current seating layout is taking away the location of many fans’ favorite ‘seat’ locations. Put the bleacher in the second level and leave the Home Run Porch seats where they should be.

I too, went and checked out the 3D Target Field seating software. Neat software. Perhaps the designers should have used something like that before finalizing the seating configuration. I’ve viewed the field from every seating “section” with the new software, and for all the “intimate seating” and “closer than ever” type quotes from the front office, there isn’t a single seat out of 40,000 where you can see the entire field of play. NOT A SINGLE SEAT! For every play that goes into one of the outfield corners, over half the people in the stands only choice to view the play is to watch it on the video screen. I don’t know how you can spend $500 million and make this simple an error.

Hi, Finally the dream comes true. Got the answers of all questions asked about Twins. Twins, Target Corporation and Target Plaza will make a good combination for fans and will bring a lot new ideas and entertainment for their fans world vide in the coming years. We fans are eagerly looking for the opening day 2010 at Target Field. Wishing all the best for the four FOUNDING LEVEL partnerships with various ballpark entitlements in the near future. http://www.freedomiq.com

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