MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins announced Thursday that Treasure Island Resort and Casino will become the second founding partner for the new Target Field. Treasure Island, owned and operated by the Prairie Island Indian Community, will not only have a presence in the new outdoor ballpark, but will also become the first-ever naming rights partner of the Twins Radio Network. "The Twins are proud of our continuing partnership with Treasure Island," said Eric Curry, Twins vice president of corporate partnerships. "The 15-year relationship the Twins have enjoyed with the Prairie Island community has been built on mutual respect and trust."
"The Prairie Island community has been wonderfully supportive of all the teams in Minnesota," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "I think they're particularly thrilled to have an opportunity to be a part of a new experience, being part of a group that's bringing outdoor baseball back to Minnesota." On hand at Target Field for the announcement Thursday was the Prairie Island Community Tribal Council, including Council President Ron Johnson. The Twins presented Johnson an engraved piece of Kasota limestone -- the same stone used on the outside of the new stadium -- and unveiled the new logo for the Twins Radio Network. "It's a blessing in disguise to us because we've looked forward to this day coming of an open park," Johnson said. "I think it just raises the expectation and the excitement now that we can meet that goal and achieve some stronger relationships with the organization here at Target Field." Treasure Island joins U.S. Bank as the second founding partner of Target Field. St. Peter said the organization hopes to add two more partners in what would "basically be the primary corporate identification" at the new stadium. "Certainly when you build a ballpark like this, it requires the support of fans, but it also requires the support of corporate partnership," St. Peter said. "That's a big part of our business." The partnership between the Twins organization and Treasure Island stems further than just the ballpark. Treasure Island also becomes a key partner in the Minnesota Twins Community Fund, which aims to "enrich local and regional communities by providing resources for healthy development of children and families." That aspect of the partnership is something Johnson takes great pride in. "We support other youth organizations through charitable donations," Johnson said. "That's our future leadership coming up." Treasure Island, U.S. Bank and the two future founding partners will each be represented on signs surrounding the video board in center field. Those four partners, St. Peter said, will make up a good part of the advertisements at Target Field. "What I meant by that is there will be minimal signage beyond those primary partners," St. Peter said. "It will be a much different experience going to a game at Target Field, probably a little bit cleaner, I would say, than maybe what you would experience going to the Metrodome where frankly, we've just been looking for more walls to put up more signs over the course of 25 years." As of Thursday, nearly 90% of the work on Target Field was completed, according to Chris Iles, corporate communications manager for the Twins. Seats will continue to be installed through October. Also next month, workers will test the scoreboard and will perform a 200-hour burn of the stadium's lighting. Iles also said more concession decisions should be made this winter. While Treasure Island's signs weren't up at Target Field on Thursday, the thought of Opening Day 2010 brought joy to Johnson as he stood behind home plate. "It raises the hair up on the back of my neck -- whatever I have left there," Johnson said. "I think when the first game is played here, I don't know if they're going to watch the game totally as much as admiring what this beautiful stadium looks like."
Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.