Lights out at Keyspan Park as naming rights deal ends

Congratulations abound after the Cyclones’ 1-0 victory on July 8.
The Brooklyn Paper / Gary Thomas

The Brooklyn Cyclones will no longer call their homefield “Keyspan Park,” ushering in a new era for the beloved minor league baseball team.

The team announced today that it has ended its naming rights agreement with National Grid, which merged with the utility company, Keyspan, in 2007.

“Keyspan and National Grid enjoyed a great partnership with the Cyclones,” said National Grid Vice President John Caroselli. “However, due to the fact that the Keyspan name no longer exists, it was an opportunity for both parties to discuss other options.”

The original naming rights deal on the stadium, which opened along the Coney Island Boardwalk in 2001, was supposed to run through 2020.

But once Keyspan was bought by the British energy giant three years ago, there was little doubt that the ballpark’s name would have to change someday. The Keyspan Park sign remains affixed to the stadium itself. It is unclear if the Cyclones or the Parks Department will try to sell it to Cyclones fanatics (a la the New York Yankees).

Spokesmen for the Cyclones and National Grid would not be disclose the value of the naming rights deal, but said a new team sponsor would be announced on Thursday morning at the former Keyspan Park.

It’s unclear how much the deal will be worth. Having your company name on the side of a baseball stadium is certainly of some value to the right company, but the question is how much value, New York University sports business professor Robert Boland told Crains.

“If you’re a Brooklyn-based company looking for recognition, this is a good opportunity to get in on the cheap,” he said, estimating that the naming rights would be worth about $100,000 a year.

“The problem is they’re probably selling it for $750,000,” he said. “I think they’re going to have a lot of trouble.”

The search for a sponsor for the Cyclones’ diamond is not the only thing new this year. Last year, the team announced that former Mets second baseman Wally Backman will manage the Cyclones in their seemingly endless quest for postseason glory.

The magic is Backman: The Cyclones new manager will be former Met great Wally Backman.
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

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