BB&T Corporation and the Charlotte Knights, a minor league baseball team, have signed a long-term agreement for BB&T to become the naming-rights sponsor for the Triple-A baseball team’s proposed new stadium in uptown Charlotte.
“BB&T is committed to supporting the communities in which we work and live,” said Wes Beckner, regional president of BB&T’s Charlotte metro region. “We believe a new baseball stadium in a spectacular setting in uptown Charlotte will create jobs and attract business investment with new restaurants and other businesses. It also will draw crowds to a family-friendly, affordable environment.
“We understand approval of the stadium is a process and critical decisions still need to be made. If those decisions are positive, we are delighted to support what we believe will be a tremendous economic catalyst for Charlotte and the region.”
Don Beaver, managing partner of the Charlotte Knights, added, “We are excited to have BB&T join our team as we create a vibrant new entertainment center in uptown Charlotte. With its strong track record of community support and commitment to family entertainment, BB&T is the perfect partner. Our partnership significantly increases the excitement, credibility and economic feasibility of our proposed uptown stadium. We couldn’t be prouder to have the BB&T name atop what will be a magnificent addition to the Charlotte landscape.”
In addition to becoming the Knights’ new home field, the planned 10,000-seat stadium in Third Ward near the future Romare Bearden Park in the heart of uptown Charlotte is expected to attract high school and college championship tournaments, concerts and many other entertainment options.
Under the agreement, the stadium would carry the BB&T name and include signage and other promotional opportunities, starting when the Knights are scheduled to begin play in April 2014. The team, now an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, has been playing at a stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., since 1990. Previously, a popular former minor league team, the Charlotte O’s, played its games near uptown Charlotte in the South End area.
Pete Zifchak, BB&T senior vice president of corporate sports marketing and event planning, said: “The proposed stadium is a compelling opportunity for us to extend the BB&T brand in Charlotte, an important market for BB&T. We carefully select our sports marketing partnerships to ensure that they have a positive impact on the community and elevate the profile of BB&T in the region. Triple-A baseball in the attractive setting of uptown Charlotte will enhance the area’s vibrancy and raise the awareness of BB&T and our commitment to the communities we serve.”
Since 2007, BB&T has widened its sports marketing scope with high-profile partnerships, including the Atlantic Coast Conference, Richard Childress Racing, Wake Forest football, the Winston-Salem Dash and the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.
With its agreement with the Knights, BB&T joins the Charlotte Chamber, Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and other groups in supporting the team’s planned new stadium on land it is leasing from Mecklenburg County.
by Ismail Uddin