SAFECO Field has been the home of the Seattle Mariners’ Baseball Club since 1998, when SAFECO Insurance acquired the naming rights. SAFECO is not planning to renew that 20 year naming agreement when it expires in 2018.
Major league stadiums carry the names of insurance companies, banks, financial institutions, airlines, ketchup companies, even a pet supply store (PETCO). But none are named for law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical services, or the military. These responders willingly place their own lives at risk – daily – to keep 340 million people in the United States safe from harm, both here at home and abroad in foreign nations.
Naming rights are not cheap. SAFECO Insurance is probably paying $1.8 million a year to get its name on this Seattle stadium. Citi Field in New York City may be the highest priced venue at $20 million a year. See a complete list from ESPN here.
We should have a First Responder Field to honor our daily heroes. But the owners of SAFECO field shouldn’t have to forgo significant revenue to provide that honor – after all, the costs will probably be borne by those attending games in Seattle.
It would be a travesty to ask first responders themselves to pay for naming rights. Perhaps we could do a Kickstarter campaign to pay for the rights. Or maybe some of Seattle’s billionaires who own Starbucks, Amazon or Microsoft could kick in the dollars.
But it would be even better, more noble, if the owners of Major League Baseball teams, each of them billionaires, could each kick in a few bucks to compensate the owners of SAFECO Field who could then honor our cops and firefighters and paramedics who respond and save lives nationwide, every day.
What do you think?