Oakland Athletics Playing Ball At Sutter Health Park In 2025-2027, A New Milestone For Health System Sports Deals

Sacramento, California-based Sutter Health is getting called up to the big leagues next summer when the Oakland Athletics take up residence at a minor league park bearing its name.

The team’s owner announced Thursday that the A’s will call Sutter Health Park home for the 2025-27 MLB seasons. The team is playing out its last season in Oakland and will be relocated to Las Vegas in 2028.

The decision marks the first time a team from one of North America’s major four professional sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) will be hosted at a venue where a hospital or health system owns the naming rights.

“We are excited to hear this morning’s news and look forward to seeing more sports fans at Sutter Health Park in the coming years,” Keri Thomas, vice president of Sutter Health external affairs, told Fierce Healthcare in an emailed statement. “As a leading healthcare provider deeply rooted in Northern California, we’re proud to continue to partner with our communities on sports and wellness initiatives as they support the health and vitality of the cities we call home.”

Sutter Health Park has a capacity of 14,000—small for a major league venue—and currently hosts the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, who will reportedly continue to play in the stadium when the A’s are away. The River Cats are an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants and majority owned by the Sacramento Kings.

Sutter Health had acquired the field’s naming rights in a 15-year deal that kicked off during the 2020 season. Financial terms of that deal were not made public. It was preceded by a $15 million, 20-year rights deal that was struck in 2000 by regional supermarket chain Raley’s.

“We extend our appreciation to the Kings and the City of West Sacramento, and look forward to making Sutter Health Park our home until our new ballpark opens in Las Vegas,” John Fisher, owner of the Athletics, said in a statement.

Sutter Health is a nonprofit organization with 22 hospitals and $16.1 billion of total revenues in 2023, when it also reported a $320 million operating income and nearly $1.1 billion in net income.

Late last year, Sutter Health also signed off on a five-year deal to sponsor Bay FC, a National Women’s Soccer League franchise, as a “founding partner.” That agreement was reportedly valued at $2.6 million per year and will see patches with the system’s logo “front and center” on player jerseys alongside specialty care for the players.

“We hope seeing the Sutter Health logo on the front of the team’s jerseys inspires girls and women in our communities to get involved in soccer, other sports or even healthcare,” Sutter Health President and CEO Warner Thomas said in a December statement on the Bay FC deal.

Health systems had already forayed into stadium naming rights within Major League Soccer. The LA Galaxy have played in Dignity Health Sports Park, a 27,000-seat multiuse complex, since 2019.

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills have played in Highmark Stadium, named for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, since 2021. Parent company Highmark Health, a large northeast payer that also runs Allegheny Health Network in Pennsylvania, was reported to have paid the team about $5.5 million in 2022, which included funds for the naming deal and other partnership initiatives.

There were at least 27 major healthcare sponsor arrangements among NFL teams in 2021, and 21 among MLB teams in 2022, according to advisory and consulting firm HealthCare Appraisers. Other noteworthy professional sports sponsorship arrangements include a $28 million, five-year deal to put Healthpartners’ TRIA Orthopedics logo on the sweaters of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and a multiyear agreement placing a NewYork-Presbyterian patch above the New York Mets’ pinstripes.


Source Link