GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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August 8, 2011

Naming Newell's field

The Microsoft Field at Newell Stadium?

It might be a dream for city officials to draw that level of corporate giant.

But some corporation — or a donor with very deep pockets — could have its name emblazoned on Gloucester High School's completed Newell Stadium, all for a tidy bid of at least $500,000.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk's office has drafted a request for proposals for title sponsorship rights to the crumbling stadium. According to the document, the city is looking for a firm, or large-scale donor, to pay for the rights to put their name on the stadium's field, scoreboard, or other significant parts. On what, though, is up to, who, or what wins the bid and the city to decide.

In the proposal, Kirk emphasizes that any new name will still include the phrase "Newell Stadium." In a letter announcing the request to the City Council, Kirk states the name would look like the "XYZ" field at Newell Stadium. That is, whoever pays at least half a million for a title sponsorship, will need to keep Newell Stadium in the title — continuing to recognize Edward Dolliver Newell, a Gloucester naval officer who was killed in World War I.

"We wanted to set certain standards when it came to title sponsorship," said Kirk.

If the city and the project draw a sponsor, however, Newell's field would apparently be the first in Massachusetts or perhaps New England that would bear a corporate name. While corporate naming rights are common in the professional sports ranks — from Foxboro's Gillette Stadium to San Francisco's AT&T Park — sponsorship on the high school level has generally been limited to advertising on scoreboards and other amenities.

The request states that any and all signs and banners the sponsor sets up need city approval, and any advertisements a sponsor will place will require City review before it goes into the stadium. Any banners, signs, or anything else with the sponsor's name attached will also be left to the sponsor to cover the cost,

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