July 30th, 2008

Midway Naming Rights Deal Puts Saints in ‘Skinny Water Stadium,’ for a Week

By John Vomhof Jr.
Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

The St. Paul Saints independent minor-league baseball team has signed a naming-rights agreement with Skinny Nutritional Corp., the maker of Skinny Water.

Under the terms of the deal, Midway Stadium will be renamed Skinny Water Stadium — for a week.

The first-of-its-kind sponsorship will give Skinny extensive marketing opportunities including on-field promotions and temporary stadium signage from Aug. 3-9.

“Ultimately, Skinny Water is going to have same presence you would find in any multi-year naming-rights deal that takes place now days,” Saints General Manager Derek Sharrer said.

Fans will receive free Skinny Water samples as they enter the stadium, the company’s slogan — “zero calories, zero sugar, zero guilt” — will be painted on the field and all Saints players will wear the number “0” on their jerseys at the Aug. 9 game.

The Saints declined to disclose the value of the sponsorship, but Sharrer said Skinny will rank among the team’s five-largest sponsors for the season, even though Skinny’s deal will last just one week.

Skinny approached the Saints with the idea earlier this year after one of the company’s principals read a story about the team’s ownership group, The Goldklang Group, and a past promotion—Nobody Night, at which fans were locked out of the stadium until after the fifth inning—in a U.S. Airways in-flight magazine during a flight.

The Saints are known for their unorthodox promotions such as their Larry Craig “bobblefoot” giveaway earlier this season.

Saints officials, however, believe they have hit on something bigger this time.

“We’re interested to see if the concept of breaking up naming-rights partnerships over the course of a season is something that can work,” Sharrer said. “I don’t know that you can ever go away from [multiyear naming-rights deals] completely, but this provides an option for ballparks where you won’t be able to sell those long-term deals.”

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