CHICAGO — U.S. Cellular Field will change its name to Guaranteed Rate Field, the White Sox announced Wednesday afternoon.
The White Sox and Guaranteed Rate, a national mortgage lender, have signed 13-year naming rights deal, according to the Sox. But the name could last even longer — the Sox have an option of extending the deal past 2030.
“We are pleased to find, in Guaranteed Rate, a new naming rights partner founded in Chicago by Chicagoans, which shares our commitment to the city and to our fans,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of the White Sox.
WGN Radio Sports Reporter and South Sider Sam Panayotovich chats about the new name.
“We view this partnership as an opportunity to connect a successful Chicago business with a historic baseball franchise, and we look forward to growing this important relationship over the coming years as millions of fans enjoy White Sox baseball at Guaranteed Rate Field,” Reinsdorf said.
The name change drew a decidedly mixed reaction from fans on social media, many of which began sarcastically listing "better" names than Guaranteed Rate Field.
Brooks Boyer, chief marketing officer and senior vice president for the Sox, said he had not spent much time on social media since the decision was reached but said he was glad fans were having fun with the name.
"I've seen a couple of the good ones and we had a good chuckle," Boyer said on a conference call with reporters."
Boyer said the team doesn't have a preferred shorthand for the new park name just yet, and said officials will likely allow one to grow "organically" from fans.
"Fans will ultimately decide," he said.
As for a logo for the park, Boyer said the team is working on one and that it likely won't copy that of Guaranteed Rate's, which is an arrow pointing down.
A downward-pointing arrow isn't ideal imagery for a ball team, but "it's good for a pitcher's ERA [earned run average]," Boyer joked.
The stadium was known as Comiskey Park 1991-2002 before it was dubbed U.S. Cellular Field in 2003. Fans were slow to warm to the name, but some started calling it "The Cell." Others kept calling it Comiskey. Some opted for Sox Park. Still others, including former Mayor Richard M. Daley, appeared to call it Kaminski Park.
U.S. Cellular paid $68 million for a 20-year naming rights deal. The Sox did not immediately say how much Guaranteed Rate would pay for their naming rights deal.
“The partnership with U.S. Cellular paved the way for a complete, top-to-bottom renovation of the ballpark that transformed the White Sox fan experience,” Boyer said. “We celebrated many memorable moments at U.S. Cellular Field throughout the years, including the 2005 World Series title.”
The change to Guaranteed Rate Field was approved at a Wednesday meeting by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, according to the Sox. The new name goes into effect on Nov. 1.
Guaranteed Rate will also become the "official mortgage and title company of the White Sox," according to the team.
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