June 20, 2011 in Sports

Qwest Field getting a new name

Seattle Times
 

SEATTLE — The era of corporate sponsorships of stadiums means it’s no longer just player rosters that fans are trying to keep straight.

What was originally known as Seahawks Stadium when it opened in 2002, then renamed Qwest Field in 2004, has a new name — CenturyLink Field.

That’s as many names as the Seahawks have had head coaches since the stadium — built on the site of the former Kingdome — opened its doors.

The announcement of the name change came today. A news conference to unveil the new logo will be held Thursday.

Qwest was purchased by CenturyLink in April.

Qwest purchased naming rights to the stadium in 2004 in a sponsorship deal that runs through 2014 with a five-year renewal option, reportedly paying an estimated $75 million. The fact the deal might run out in three years, though, means there’s no guarantee the new name will last for long. It’s a far cry from places like Fenway Park, which was named in 1912 after the Boston neighborhood in which the stadium resides and hasn’t changed.

It’s not the only local sports venue to change names this year. The former Bank of America Arena, where the University of Washington plays basketball, was renamed Alaska Airlines Arena after the former sponsorship deal elapsed.

Safeco Field, where the Mariners play, has had its name since the venue opened in 1999, the company signing a 20-year naming-rights deal worth $40 million. The name remained even though Safeco was acquired by the Liberty Mutual Group in 2008.

CenturyLink, in a news release, bills itself as the third largest telecommunications company in the United States.

“Although the name of this facility will change, the history, tradition and spirit of the 12th Man and the Sounders FC supporters will never change,” said Seahawks, Sounders FC and First and Goal president Peter McLoughlin in a statement. “We are excited about our partnership with CenturyLink and our ongoing commitment to positively impact the fans of the Pacific Northwest.”

The events center will be known as CenturyLink Field Event Center.

CenturyLink began making changes in sponsorship items at Qwest in April during Sounders FC games.


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