121 Financial Acquires Naming Rights to Jumbo Shrimps’ Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
When Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Owner and CEO Ken Babby took the podium Wednesday morning to make a franchise announcement, he made one thing immediately clear.
“We are not here to change the name of the team,” Babby said.
Instead, Babby, along with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, announced a naming partnership with 121 Financial Credit Union. The ballpark will be named ‘121 Financial Ballpark’ for the beginning of the 2020 season.
“121 Financial Ballpark is an agreement and naming rights agreement that will spend the entire remaining term of our lease here in Jacksonville,” Babby said. “Thirteen years, and I think as we all have said from the beginning, will hopefully go much longer than that - both our lease and commitment to the city and our relationship with 121.”
The ballpark is currently called the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Before the name change becomes official, legislation must be passed by the City Council and then a signage review board. The legislation was filed Wednesday, and Babby said he hopes the Council will vote on it over the next three to four weeks.
“We were reluctant to find the partner that didn’t have the right values and didn’t align with who we are,” Babby said. “We just didn’t want to take XYZ company and put their name on the building just to do it.”
121 Financial Credit Union is celebrating 85 years of local service in 2020. The credit union has been a partner with the Jumbo Shrimp for years, along with the Jacksonville Suns before the team name change in 2016.
121 Financial interim-CEO David Marovich said his institution has been inpressed with the community's strong support of the team. “The demographics are split between men and women, all age groups. When you look at all of that together, it just made sense.”
The Jumbo Shrimp had a total attendance of 327,388 for the 2019 season, according to JaxChamber.
The financials of the agreement haven’t been disclosed apart from it lasting 13 years through the end of the leasing agreement.
“As we work to develop the entertainment district and enhance it in the years ahead, which is a goal of mine in my administration, this organization really is an anchor in this place,” said Curry. “What we’re seeing here today, and what we’ve seen, Ken [Babby], since you’ve bought the team is to not just remain the status quo, but to really invest in this place and to enhance the experience.”
Babby told WJCT the money gained from the naming agreement will be used to further enhance fan experiences at the ballpark.
“Areas like renovating the Tiki Bar, renovating our suites, creating new group spaces,” said Babby. “Those are all really important parts of our value proposition to fans and be able to do that at an affordable price.”
The naming agreement ensures the playing field will keep its name of Bragan Field, in honor of the Bragan family who owned the Suns for more than 30 years.
The field was named Bragan Field in 2012, following the passing of longtime Suns owner Peter D. Bragan Sr.