When it comes to the name of the new spring training home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, Palm Beach County will get permanent branding.
The name of the $135 million complex south of 45th Street in West Palm Beach will include the words “of (or at) the Palm Beaches,’’ as part of an agreement with the teams that county commissioners will consider Tuesday.
That means that if a corporation purchases the naming rights, the name of the stadium will start with the company’s name and end with “at the Palm Beaches’’ or “of the Palm Beaches.”
“When one of the announcers says something or when the game stories are written, ‘the Palm Beaches’ will become something everyone understands and recognizes,’’ said Glenn Jergensen, executive director of the county’s Tourist Development Council.
“We want to continue to use ‘the Palm Beaches” in pretty much everything, including the stadium. That is our tourism identity to the world.’’
County tourism officials insisted on the agreement with the teams because the county is helping pay off the debt service for the stadium construction bonds with $108 million in revenue from a county tax on hotels and motels.
The current name of the complex is “Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.’’
Although that’s considered a temporary title, it might end up being the name of the stadium when it opens in 2017 and perhaps for another year or two after that, if not longer.
The Astros and Nationals will start focusing on a naming rights deal later this year. But indications are that the teams are prepared to wait as long as it takes for what they consider the best deal, even if it takes several years.
That means there’s a chance the Astros and Nationals will play Grapefruit League games at “The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches’’ for the first few years.
Nationals Park, the team’s regular season home stadium in Washington, opened in 2008 and has never had a naming rights deal.
The Astros’ home park in Houston is called Minute Maid Park, after the orange juice maker. It opened in 2000 as the Ballpark at Union Station before changing its name at the start of the season to Enron Field as part of 30-year, $100 million deal with the Houston energy company.
The team got out of that deal after Enron went into bankruptcy in 2002 because of a financial scandal.