What do Salt Lake City’s biggest ballpark and one of its biggest grocery store chains have in common?
As of Wednesday morning, a name.
The home of the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees has been renamed Smith’s Ballpark, a move announced by Miller Sports, Smith’s Food and Drug Stores and the city government. The six-year partnership between the city-owned stadium and Smith’s is expected to be a deal that could benefit both sides.
Previously known as SpringMobile Ballpark, the newly named venue will now bear the name of a brand that has 47 stores and 6,500 employees in the state. The visibility and cross-promotion potential for the Bees is a big plus of the deal.
"We’re talking about the hometown team and hometown grocer, it’s a good marriage," Bees general manager Marc Amicone said. "The wonderful thing about Smith’s is there are so many locations close by. So many employees and associates who can get involved. We’re excited. We think it opens up a lot of opportunities."
It also opens up opportunities for Smith’s, a chain which originated in Utah and today operates as a division of Kroger. The company sees the potential to offer ticketing rewards to employees and promotions to customers.
It is not a new partnership: Smith’s has sponsored a family night deal — four tickets and four hot dogs for $20 — for the last year, and its SmithTix outlets sell Bees tickets. Staffs for the Bees and Smith’s are now hammering out details for new ways to cross-promote.
"We’ll have a lot of events going on at games," Smith’s Vice President of Public Affairs Marsha Gilford said. "We’ll have a lot of special ticket opportunities. A lot of things are still in the works, but it’s going to be a fun and exciting season."
The Bees are the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, and the franchise is entering its 20th season in Salt Lake City. Mayor Ralph Becker said he felt the union between the minor league team and one of the city’s prominent businesses should only help both parties.
"Smith’s has been here a long, long time. It’s great to see them step forward and put their name on an important part of our community. We’re thrilled to see a relationship continue. It means the Bees are going to be strong financially and our ballpark is going to be in great shape."
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