The Salt Lake Bees will open the 2009 season at home on Thursday night against the Reno Aces, but they won't be playing at Franklin Covey Field.
That's because Franklin Covey Field doesn't exist anymore.
Oh, the Bees will be playing on their usual diamond on the corner of 1300 South and West Temple. It's just that the ballpark formerly known as Franklin Covey Field has a new name.
Salt Lake's Triple-A team now plays at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
The name change comes prior to the start of its 16th season of baseball at the facility, as FranklinCovey's 15-year naming agreement has expired. Executives from the Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment Group (owners of the Bees), Salt Lake City Corp. (owners of the stadium) and Spring Mobile announced the new name at a press conference held on second base of the ballpark on Tuesday afternoon.
The exact number of years of the deal and the amount of money Spring Mobile is paying for the ballpark's naming rights were not disclosed. Randy Rigby, the president of the Miller group, said the naming rights would be for "a minimum of five years and a maximum of 15."
"Spring Mobile is an ideal partner as we continue to offer Salt Lake City the state's highest level of professional baseball at one of the country's finest ballparks," said team owner Greg Miller, oldest son of the late Larry H. Miller.
The deal includes exclusive sponsorship and advertising rights, and prominent signage on the exterior and interior of the building.
"We're fortunate to be able to make an investment like this even during these challenging economic times," said Spring Mobile president and CEO Jason Ellis. "But, as a Utah-based company, we're committed to giving back to our community by supporting local organizations — including the Salt Lake Bees and this ballpark, which are nothing short of icons. It will be a thrill for all of us to see the Spring Mobile name above the gates outside."
Since 1994 when the new ballpark opened at the same site as the old Derks Field, Salt Lake's Triple-A team has leased the facility from Salt Lake City.
"On behalf of Salt Lake City, I congratulate the Salt Lake Bees and Spring Mobile on this exciting new chapter in Bees history and wish both organizations well on this terrific new partnership," said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.
Spring Mobile, headquartered in Salt Lake City, is a wireless phones and high-speed wireless data services retailer in Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming. The privately owned company has 40 locations along the Wasatch Front and employs more than 300 people, including more than 200 in Utah.
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