A TV commercial lasts about 30 seconds.
The name on a stadium can last a decade — or more.
That’s part of the philosophy behind BB&T’s aggressive stadium naming rights pursuit, which has resulted in the bank placing its name on seven venues in the state — six of which are in the Triad. The bank, based in Winston-Salem, has its name on Wake Forest University’s football stadium (BB&T Field) and on the minor-league baseball stadium (BB&T Ballpark), home of the Winston-Salem Dash.
“You know, the average cost of a 30-second television commercial can be expensive, but once you’ve got your name on a stadium, there’s really no charge when a game is mentioned,” said Cantey Alexander, Triad regional president for BB&T. “It helps create more brand awareness whenever a game is played, it’s almost unavoidable for cameras to pick up shots of the stadium, the sportscasters to at least mention the facility.”
In addition to the two venues in Winston-Salem, BB&T has its name on two other minor-league baseball parks, Charlotte’s BB&T Ballpark and High Point’s BB&T Point, on which construction has started and is expected to be completed by April. Two recreational soccer facilities, BB&T Sports Park in Bermuda Run and BB&T Soccer Complex in Browns Summit, provide additional variety for the bank.
And most recently, BB&T acquired the naming rights to N.C. A&T’s football stadium in June. The stadium will be named BB&T Stadium, and it’s a move that broadens the variety beyond A&T’s flagship football program.
“Of course the football team plays home games there, but they host a lot of very large track events that universities, high schools throughout the Southeast come here to their stadium,” Alexander said. “The stadium probably gets more usage from that perspective than football. But it just helps us represent the broad spectrum of our community and we’re able to support and partner with diverse groups.”
BB&T will pay the school $1.5 million, a gift of $100,000 per year for 15 years. The name change was made official July 1.
“As a local corporate citizen, BB&T has a strong track record of supporting the communities it serves,” said Ford Bowers, BB&T Greensboro market president, in a release through A&T. “We are proud to work with A&T and very excited that the stadium will display the BB&T name.”
The deal for naming rights to High Point’s baseball stadium, which will be home to the franchise in the independent Atlantic League, is also for 15 years, but for $7.5 million.
That was a key addition to BB&T’s collection of venues because of its location, among other factors.
“The unique thing about the High Point stadium, it’s really more of a multi-purpose stadium. It’ll be used for baseball, but other type of events, other sports will be played there,” Alexander said. “They broke ground about (seven) months ago and they hope to have it open by April of 2019, for the start of the season.
“But there’s so much exciting development going on in downtown High Point right now. We felt being a part of that development was very exciting.”
The High Point stadium, along with BB&T Ballparks in Winston-Salem and Charlotte and the BB&T Sports Park in Bermuda Run, had the BB&T name attached from the time that construction started.
That wasn’t the case at the other venues, and Alexander said the opportunities to acquire naming rights varies from each situation.
“BB&T is one of the corporate pillars of our community,” said athletics director Ron Wellman of Wake Forest. “Their values align with ours. Having them associated with our program is certainly beneficial to us beyond the financial support they provide through the naming rights. Our relationship with BB&T is very important to us. They support many charitable activities in this area and have been instrumental in making numerous athletic facilities possible.
“We are proud of our relationship with such a corporate leader in our community. Our relationship with BB&T goes beyond their support of athletics as they are also involved with academic programs which have benefited our students.”
The benefits for BB&T include a luxury suite at Wake Forest for football games. And there’s obvious name recognition that comes with being attached to a stadium or venue.
But it goes beyond that for BB&T.
“We’re committed to economic development in our community, in the Triad. And by supporting naming rights to a stadium, we’re supporting the creation of new jobs, potentially, future economic development,” Alexander said. “Partnering with community-minded organizations helps build on the reputation of the local community as one of the best places in the country to live and work.
“It’s just really nice and with part of our mission, which is making the communities in which we work a better place to be.”
As the pattern has shown, if there’s a stadium to be built or in need of a new name in the Triad, BB&T will be a factor.