A naming rights agreement between Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and 121 Financial Credit Union could rename the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville as 121 Financial Ballpark.
Jumbo Shrimp owner Ken Babby announced the 13-year agreement at a news conference Jan. 22 in the ballpark clubhouse with 121 Financial Credit Union interim CEO David Marovich and Mayor Lenny Curry.
Babby and Marovich would not disclose the value of the agreement.
Another 15-year naming rights agreement for the city-owned VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena directly west of the baseball grounds was secured in February 2019 for $9.76 million with VyStar Credit Union.
The Baseball Grounds is owned by the city and the naming rights deal must be cleared by City Council.
A bill filed Jan. 22 states that the Jumbo Shrimp’s lease agreement with the city amended April 1 allows the team to keep the revenue from the naming rights agreement with Council’s approval.
The legislation does not state the amount of money the Jumbo Shrimp will gain from the deal.
In an interview after the announcement, Curry said the revenue from the deal would be used at the ballpark.
“These naming rights will allow dollars to come in that will be reinvested back into the facility to make sure it is not only maintained, but continues to be enhanced,” Curry said.
Babby’s company, Fast Forwards Sports Group LLC, says it has invested nearly $3 million in the stadium since buying the team in September 2015.
Babby said revenue from the naming rights agreement will help keep ticket and concession prices affordable and the proceeds will be invested in the facility and team.
No projects were announced Jan. 22.
The agreement expires in 2033 and coincides with the end of the team’s lease agreement with the city.
Babby said the Jumbo Shrimp intends to pursue a stadium lease renewal. Babby and Marovich said they hope to see an extension of the naming rights agreement.
“We have no intention of going anywhere. We’re here to stay,” Babby said after the announcement. “This partnership is very indicative of that and as soon as we have the opportunity to extend our lease with the city.”
With the agreement, the Baseball Grounds will receive new signage. Babby said the Jumbo Shrimp will present a signage plan to the Downtown Development Review Board for approval concurrently with the agreement’s Council legislation.
“We’ll follow the blueprint set by the arena across the street that went through this process earlier last year,” Babby said. “We’ve been fortunate to have a great partnership with the (Jacksonville) Jaguars and share our plans and ideas with them. As I’ve joked, it’s a good place to be in the neighborhood.”
He hopes to have the naming rights and ballpark branding ready for opening day April 15.
Babby said talks between the Jumbo Shrimp and 121 Financial began in July or August and the deal was finalized Dec. 31.
The Jacksonville-based credit union has been a marketing partner with the baseball club for several years, before former Jacksonville Suns team owner Peter “Pedro” Bragan Jr. sold the team to Fast Forward Sports.
Babby said Jan. 22 that he contacted the Bragan family before the announcement.
The agreement, Babby said, will ensure 2012 Council legislation that named the playing surface Bragan Field remains unchanged.
This story has been updated with the release of the legislation.