Could Tropicana Field change it’s Name?

I was extremely surprised today when the Florida Fairgrounds head honcho David Harb announced earlier today the completion of a naming change for their semi-covered outdoor concert venue from the Ford Amphitheatre to the 1-800 Ask Gary Amphitheatre. Guess if we ever hit the road for a concert now over in East Tampa, we can refer the venue as the “Gary”. But that brings up some interesting questions.

If the Florida Fairgrounds can change their venues name, what is stopping the Rays from maybe ending their relationship with Tropicana/Dole Brands and maybe throwing a new name on the dome the Rays currently call home. This same enclosed arena has had three names since its inception, the Florida Suncoast Dome (1990-1993), the Thunder Dome (1993-1996), and it’s first commercially named rights holder, Tropicana Field (1996-?).

Bradenton’s own giant Tropicana Dole brands North America announced their naming rights deal on October 4, 1996 months before a baseball team ever set foot upon the turf in the 72 degree venue. There is no general mention that I could find today as to the extent or expiration of the Trop’s naming rights contract. And with Tropicana’s parent company Pepsico holding the “pouring rights” within the confines of Tropicana Field for the first 15-years, could there be a name change in the future for the Trop?


With the expiration of Pepsi’s “pouring” monopoly possibly ending in October 2011, could there be a wind of change among the signage at Tropicana Field? In all honestly, I see Pepsi and Tropicana extending and continue contributing and “pouring” at the Rays facilities for a long time. But sometimes a local company can make an instant name for itself by spending million of dollars every year for an instant advertising focal point that gets mentioned numerous times in every television and radio broadcast throughout not only Rays games, but in other events held at the dome after the Major League Baseball season ends.

So if the Tropicana/Pepsico relationship were to end…..What company or product would try and attach itself to the dome and makes its visibility explode into the Tampa Bay region. We know that Pepsi’s biggest rival Coca-Cola no longer has a huge dominance in the MLB parks, but would they attempt to push the Pepsico brands name off the stadium and maybe throw their own drink Powerade aid up on the stadium’s signage?

Of course all this conversation is actually all speculation and hypothetical thoughts considering Tropicana still has a firm naming rights deal in place, but if for some reason Pepsi was removed from the Trop’s concession stands after the 2011 season, would Tropicana pull themselves from the stadium’s signage as a sign of solidarity towards Pepsi? But of course this is all null and void since an agreement is solidly in place, and Tropicana has made no intention or conclusion to end their relationship with the Rays.

But with the new about the Amphitheatre at the Florida Fairgrounds changing its name, it brings up an interesting thought process of what would be the Rays stadium’s next name? With a new stadium on the increasing horizon, and conversations moving forward hopefully after the 2010 season, will the Rays carry the Tropicana name with them to a new home, or seek another identity for their new digs. Could the Rays want to wash the stigma away clean in their new stadium with no ties to Tropicana, or will the relationship still flourish as nothing ever changed. I could see a viable change to the Rays stadium naming rights when they vacate the current Tropicana Field dome.


Maybe it will be a investment banking name attached to the stadium, or possibly a large grocery chain. And considering the new stadium will house the best and brightest “green” energy alternatives at that moment, could a local power provider or even home improvement empire try and construct a new relationship with the Rays and push their visual agenda. Corporate revenues and sponsorships are critical in today’s fiscal environment not only for the team’s survival, but for their future. So it is a realistic thought that Tropicana Field will cease the moment the Rays play their last game under it’s white dome.

Could Pepsico maybe be innovative and try and attach one of their more wholesome environmentally friendly brands like Sobe into the mix for the name of a Rays future home. I kind of like the name Sobe Center, it flows right off your tongue like Sobe’s own Green tea product. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.


Money changes everything…even names. I’ll be honest with you…since naming rights came into existence and parks and stadiums started getting renamed under corp. brands etc etc…I just haven’t been able to keep up. “The Trop” is something that sticks. It’s an easily recallable name.

I guess I do not have to tell a Mets fan about the way money can get you a stadium name *Cough* Citi Field *Cough*.
It is a plausible reality that the moment the Rays decide on a new stadium location and design, some corporation will bring a boatload of moolah into the Rays front offices and spill the contents on their desks and ask for the new naming rights.
Reality of like in the corporate USA.

Rays Renegade

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