With the Seattle Mariners’ new lease on their home field comes a brand new name: T-Mobile Park. The partnership comes with a 25-year naming rights agreement, changing the stadium’s name after 20 years as Safeco Field. Insurance company Safeco, which the stadium has been named after since it was built in 1998, decided not to extend its naming rights agreement last year.
The Safeco Field sign at the entrance has already been removed, with the heavy branding associated with Bellevue-based telecommunications company weeping through the park over the coming days. Most notably, the stadium will be coated in a pink glow (T-Mobile officially considers this “magenta”), especially heavy at the rounded entrance and along the retractable roof, renderings released by T-Mobile on Wednesday show.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement that the agreement is part of T-Mobile’s hometown pride. “T-Mobile Park isn’t just some corporate-branded sponsorship to us,” said Legere, optimistically adding, “this is about supporting the community and our hometown Mariners in building a World Series-caliber team.”
Mariners majority owner John Stanton founded Voicestream Wireless, the company that would eventually become T-Mobile after its acquisition by Deutsche Telekom, the Puget Sound Business Journal pointed out.
While the Mariners previously shared the Kingdome with the Seahawks, playing on a field designed for football was not an ideal scenario—so in the mid-1990s, then-governor Gary Locke launched a task force to explore getting the team its own home. While a sales-tax measure to fund the new stadium was defeated, the effort came at an especially exciting time for the Mariners as a team, the State Legislature and the King County Council came up with a lodging tax funding model, kicking in after the Kingdome was paid off. The distribution of those funds, which also fund housing, tourism promotion, and the arts, ended up becoming a major sticking point in negotiating a new lease for the stadium, with community groups pushing for additional money for the other buckets rather than paying for the stadium’s capital improvements.
After a fast construction timeline (some said too fast), the ballpark’s opening day was July 15, 1999 for a game against the San Diego Padres. Designed by architecture firm NBBJ, the stadium featured a Seattle-ready retractable roof for the classic open-air feeling for when weather cooperated and shelter for when it didn’t.
The name officially switches over in January, assuming approval by the public facilities district governing the stadium. The visual transformation is scheduled to be complete by the time 2019 opening day rolls around on March 28, 2019, when the Mariners face the Boston Red Sox.
This article has been updated since its original publication to note Stanton’s connection with T-Mobile and to note that T-Mobile considers the pink color to be “magenta.”