MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins' new home has a name: Target Field. The club announced on Monday morning that they have reached an agreement in principle on a 25-year deal that includes the naming rights for Target Field. The ballpark is scheduled to open in 2010. The Twins did not release the financial terms of the pact. But according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, several sports analysts around the country have estimated the deal could total $100 million or more over the course of the 25 years.
One sports marketing analyst suggested that the deal could be worth as much as $8 million per year. But the general consensus of most sports marketing people polled by the paper was that the Twins deal is more likely in the range of $5-6 million a year. "We took what we think is a non-traditional approach -- a lot of teams would have had an auction; that was never what it was about for the Twins," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "When we considered corporate names, it was clear that one, it needed to be a Minnesota-based brand, and two, it had to be involved in the community and consistent with our brand, which is very family focused. There was a small list of companies that we felt fit those criteria. Target was at the top of that list." The Twins and Target will also collaborate on the design of Target Plaza, a pedestrian bridge and public gathering space connecting Target Field to downtown Minneapolis. "The plaza is really critical because it's the front door to the ballpark but it could also be a really dynamic public gathering place," St. Peter said. Monday's press release indicated that Target will have "an extensive brand presence at the new ballpark." "The Twins are a highly respected member of this community and we believe that the partnership gives us the opportunity to extend both our own brand and our community support in this market with the Twins product. There is a lot of overlap in Twins fans and Target customers," Target senior vice president of communications Susan Kahn said. The new ballpark is across the street from one of the company's other corporate ventures, the Target Center, home to the NBA's Timberwolves. Target paid around $18 million in the early 1990s for the naming rights to that facility. St. Peter said the Twins' 20-year corporate relationship with Target helped consummate the deal quickly. Site clearing for the new ballpark site began in May 2007 with actual construction beginning in August 2007. The 40,000-seat ballpark is scheduled to be completed prior to Opening Day 2010. The Minnesota Legislature in 2006 approved funding of the ballpark. Under terms of the legislation, the public contributed $350 million -- $90 million for infrastructure and $260 million for ballpark construction. The Twins contributed $130 million for construction costs and cost overruns. Since the legislation was adopted, the team has committed to contributing an additional $15 million for non-land infrastructure expenses and $22.5 million for ballpark construction costs. A total project budget of about $517.5 million was approved in February. Target is a Minneapolis-based company with 1,648 stores in 47 states nationwide that specializes in selling retail trends at affordable prices. "Our state is lucky to have many businesses that provide outstanding support and commitment to our community, but none do it better than Minnesota-based Target," Twins owner Jim Pohlad said. "We are honored to be their partner."
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Kelly Thesier contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.