WAAY 31 I-TEAM: Madison mayor says he can’t legally release cost of stadium naming deal with Toyota

The lease obtained by WAAY 31 says between the city and team, each receive 50% of revenue from naming rights.

Posted: Oct 16, 2019 9:22 PM
Updated: Oct 17, 2019 7:37 AM

On Wednesday, the mayor of Madison told the WAAY 31 I-TEAM he legally can’t say how much money Toyota is paying to call the city’s new baseball stadium “Toyota Field.”

In the lease obtained by WAAY 31, between the city and the team, it states the city and team will each receive 50% of revenue from naming rights.

Mayor Paul Finley said the city worked closely with BallCorps to ensure the right company bought the naming rights to the stadium, but he’s adamant the deal to call it Toyota Field is directly between the team and Toyota.

"I can't tell you what that deal is worth. I know Toyota has the opportunity if they want to, but I know from a city standpoint, we're just glad it's closed, and it'll help finalize one of those five revenue channels," Finley said.

Those five revenue channels will equal at least $1 million a year for the next 30 years.

Naming rights, rent and ticket sales, sales tax, parking and non-baseball events are included in that $1 million. Mayor Finely said that amount could be the minimum depending on how profitable the stadium is.

"One year, two year, three years from now as BallCorps starts making their payment, we'll have a good understanding if we only get $1 million or if it bumps from 1.2, 1.4, or 1.6," Finley said.

The lease that helped bring the Trash Pandas to Madison said initial naming rights are expected to last 10 to 15 years.

WAAY 31 called Toyota to ask the car manufacturer about the details. A spokesperson said they can't disclose specific information on agreements.

Earlier this week, the Trash Pandas' owner, Ralph Nelson, said it would be inappropriate to talk about specifics. He didn’t return our calls on Wednesday. 

We asked Finley if he’s confident the $46 million investment is a good one.

"I don't think there's ever a guarantee in anything that you do, but we are very comfortable the numbers we put in place are being met in every facet," he said.

The city insists it’s traditional for these deals to be private and not public record. However, a quick search online showed Regions Financial is paying the Birmingham Barons half a million dollars a year for naming rights.

We called every city in the southern league that owns the team’s stadium and is sponsored to ask about their deals. We're still waiting to hear back from those cities and the teams.

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