What’s in a multimillion-dollar stadium name for banks?

There are still some traditional holdouts, but if you have a professional sports stadium, odds are you’ve sold away the naming rights.

And there are decent odds that if you did, you’ve sold it to a company in the financial services industry.

Banks, insurance companies and financial services firms make up almost 32 percent of the reserved naming rights of the four major-league professional sports stadiums and arenas. That includes some overlap between sports and venues, like the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where both the NBA’s Philadelphia Sixers and NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers play.

One of those banks will keep its naming rights through 2027 after Buffalo-based M&T Bank, which operates about four dozen branches in the midstate and has a regional office in Harrisburg, extended its contact for the naming rights at the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens stadium.

The bank announced a 10-year, $60 million extension of the partnership that will keep the name M&T Bank Stadium. The deal started with a 15-year agreement in 2003.

The agreement includes M&T being the official bank of the Ravens, which allows it exclusively to offer a Ravens debit card, according to Philip Hosmer, M&T spokesman.

The bank has nine ATMs throughout the stadium, a staffed booth during games, a hospitality suite and special event access for M&T at the stadium, the Ravens’ training facility and events sponsored by the Ravens, Hosmer said.

And there is the biggest advantage of all: advertising.

“M&T Bank is featured on an array of interior and exterior stadium signage and branding, seen by 70,000 fans and millions more on television,” Hosmer said in an email.

That’s a lot of people, and financial institutions seem to have found that opportunity more valuable than any other industry.

Locally, two of the midstate’s four stadiums/arenas carry bank names, not counting Santander Arena in Reading. All three of Philadelphia’s major, pro stadiums are named by financial companies and the PNC Bank name adorns Pittsburgh’s baseball stadium. PNC also has naming rights for the stadium of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Metro Bank, under a contract first signed by its former entity Commerce Bank, has the naming rights to the City Island ballpark of the Harrisburg Senators through 2019. The 15-year contract is worth $3.5 million, according to the bank, and keeps the stadium called Metro Bank Park.

Complimentary tickets for bank customers and employees are part of that sponsorship, according to Metro Bank Chief Marketing Officer John Cunningham.

“Their fans are our customers and potential customers,” Cunningham said of the relationship between the Senators and Metro. “Therefore, our presence at the ballpark reinforces and enhances our brand to the many that already know us and drives awareness of our brand for others we’re aiming to connect with.”

Michael Sadowski

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