Chicago White Sox Changing Stadium Name to Guaranteed Rate Field

Jun 7, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of U.S. Cellular Field during the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of U.S. Cellular Field during the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago White Sox announced today they have reached an agreement with Guaranteed Rate on a 13 year naming rights deal. Financial terms of the agreement have not been released. The stadium was previously known as U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox reached 20-year, $68 million naming rights agreement with the cellular phone company in 2003.

Prior to the naming rights agreement in ’03, the White Sox played in two incarnations of Comiskey Park. Named after the team’s original owner Charles Comiskey, the White Sox played at the Original Comiskey Park from 1910-1990. They moved into the new Comiskey Park in April of 1991.

U.S. Cellular was founded in Chicago and continues to maintain its headquarters there. They announced in 2012 that they were pulling out of Chicago. They maintain their headquarters in Chicago but do not currently have a presence here.

Guaranteed rate was founded in 2000 in Chicago by Victor Ciardelli. He created the company “to find a new, more modern way to help home buyers land the home of their dreams.” per the Guaranteed Rate website.

Ciardelli was quoted in a White Sox press release as saying:

"“We are incredibly excited and honored to be part of the White Sox family…It really is a dream come true to have the Guaranteed Rate name on a hometown Chicago ballpark. We love this city and its baseball fans, and couldn’t be happier to partner with an iconic team and a legendary owner in Jerry Reinsdorf. We look forward to many great years of White Sox baseball at Guaranteed Rate Field.”"

U.S. Cellular played a vital role in extensive renovations the White Sox wanted. White Sox director of marketing Brooks Boyer said in the same release:

"“The partnership with U.S. Cellular paved the way for a complete, top-to-bottom renovation of the ballpark that transformed the White Sox fan experience”"

The renovations were extensive. Between the 2003-04 season, some of the renovations included removing 6.600 seats from the top 10-12 rows of the upper deck, adding a roof to the upper deck to increase shade in the seating areas, lowering the height of the park, and enclosing the upper deck concourse.

The next off-season changes included adding a section of “Scout Seats”. In 2004 and ’05, the blue seats were replaced with Green Seats. Other changes since have included the edition of the Chicago Sports Depot, The Chisox Bar and Grill, the Fundamentals Deck, the centerfield fan deck and several more that debuted this year. They also installed three new scoreboards for this season.

There have been many criticisms of the new name and how Guaranteed Rate’s Logo of an arrow pointing down will be incorporated by the White Sox. One fan suggested that the logo fits the White Sox present direction.

White Sox Managing Partner Jerry Reinsdorf commented on the importance of partnering with a Chicago company. “We view this partnership as an opportunity to connect a successful Chicago business with a historic baseball franchise”

The White Sox will partner with Guaranteed Rate on sponsorship, marketing, and branding opportunities. Part of the agreement with the Illinois Sports and Facility Authority is that no renovations will be made during the last three years of the current agreement.

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Per ISFA Chairman Manny Sanchez the new deal with generate up to $6.4 million. The conclusion from that has to be per year. Sanchez also added that the deal prohibiting the renovations in the final three years of the deal: “This is just the latest example of the ISFA deploying innovative strategies to protect Illinois Taxpayers.”