MILWAUKEE -- Brewers fans have a whole summer to get used to the sound of it: American Family Field.
That will be the new name of Milwaukee’s Major League venue following the 2020 season, sources confirmed to MLB.com on Tuesday after local radio host Mark Belling broke the news on his show. The name was announced to an internal group of American Family Insurance executives on Tuesday afternoon.
The stadium will continue to go by Miller Park through the 2020 season, per terms of the original 20-year naming rights deal between the Brewers and the Miller Brewing Company (now MillerCoors) when the turnstiles first spun in 2001. The Brewers entered into a new, 15-year agreement with Madison-based American Family Insurance last January.
The Brewers could not confirm Tuesday’s report, but a club spokesperson issued a statement:
“We continue working with American Family Insurance on implementing the various elements of our expanded partnership and appreciate their commitment to the team. The Milwaukee Brewers will continue to refer to the ballpark as Miller Park in accordance with the terms of the current naming rights agreement.”
Later Tuesday, American Family Insurance confirmed the change, and said it would officially take place on Jan. 1, 2021. The company said a logo would be unveiled later this year.
“The name American Family Field incorporates what we learned from fans, the Brewers and marketing research that included analysis of our brand and other sporting venue names,” said Jack Salzwedel, American Family chair and executive officer, in the release.
“The name is short, simple and sweet with its alliteration of ‘Family’ and ‘Field.' The words ‘American Family’ capture our brand and reflect the family-orientated atmosphere that our research showed fans clearly value in the ballpark.”
As part of the sponsorship agreement, American Family also acquired naming rights to the Brewers Spring Training complex in Maryvale, Ariz. The complex, which completed an extensive renovation last year, is named American Family Fields of Phoenix.
When their agreement was announced last January, the Brewers and American Family Insurance opted not to reveal any financial details of the partnership, which was part of a significant expansion into the Milwaukee market for the insurer. The final five years of the lease are contingent on the Brewers picking up a series of club options through 2035, which is widely expected to happen given their recent investments in the building.
The deal with Miller was struck in 1996 when the stadium was still in the planning stages. It pays $40 million over 20 years, and represented a critical investment in keeping the Brewers in Milwaukee. But with that agreement nearing its end, the Brewers approached a very small group of companies in the summer of 2018, including American Family, to gauge interest.
Founded in 1927, the company is the largest provider of personal auto and homeowners insurance in Wisconsin. It is also the presenting sponsor of Milwaukee’s downtown Summerfest, including the primary music venue on those grounds, the American Family Amphitheater.
"We pursued them early," Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger said. "They were a focal point from the get-go."
The Brewers have at least 83 games remaining at “Miller Park,” starting with a pair of preseason exhibitions against the Royals on March 23-24. Opening Day is March 26 against the Cubs.