The game remains the same, but there will be a new name for the Hillsboro Ballpark, the stadium where the Hillsboro Hops Class A baseball team plays.
In a well-choreographed media event Tuesday afternoon at the Hillsboro Ballpark, Mayor Jerry Willey announced that from May 13 forward, the stadium will be known as Ron Tonkin Field.
The name is in memory of Ron Tonkin, the owner of the Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships, a major Northwest auto dealer. Tonkin passed away in January, and his family pursued renaming the stadium as a way to honor him.
This is a perfect marriage of our fathers love for baseball and our love for him, said Ed Tonkin, Rons son, while standing at a podium set up in the infield of the baseball field. We had hoped hed be here to see this, but unfortunately we lost him in January. He would have truly enjoyed this.
The naming rights deal is for 10 years. Over the next decade, the Tonkin family will pay $150,000 per year for the naming rights to Ron Tonkin Field. Each year, the city will receive 70 percent of that sum $105,000 while the Hops organization will receive the remaining 30 percent, or $45,000.
Its a special day for us, said K.L. Wombacher, general manager of the Hillsboro Hops. We worked very hard over the last two years (to achieve this). There were a ton of meetings, but with naming rights we really wanted the right fit, because this is much more than a business deal.
Hillsboro City Manager Michael Brown said negotiations had been ongoing for several months.
Ultimately, I made the decision to agree to the terms, and it will be presented to the city council on May 20, Brown said.
Wayne Gross, director of the citys Parks & Recreation Department, said naming rights were on the table even before the Hops stadium opened in June 2013, but finding the right deal took a long time.
Everyone wanted to see how the first year with the Hops went, and what the interest level was, so it took a while to get to this point, Gross said. This is a really good deal for the city.
Gross added that the Hops an affiliate of Major League Baseballs Arizona Diamondbacks inked the best deal of all the Northwest League teams.
The city hired the Hops to be our agent and negotiate an agreement, explained Gross. Its pretty exciting for a minor league team and for a stadium of this size to have the best naming rights deal by far.
Wombacher said there were multiple suitors hoping to land the naming rights for the stadium.
We had at least a dozen face-to-face meetings with companies, and a good 20 to 30 we considered prospects, Wombacher explained. But we really wanted to find the right fit. Early on, we pitched them (the Tonkin dealership) on a partnership, and later Ed came to a game and really enjoyed the experience. That restarted the conversation.
An illuminated neon sign will be going up on the roof the 4,500-seat stadium where the Hops play, and the scoreboard will also reflect the new name of Ron Tonkin Field. The new signs are expected to be in place for the Hillsboro Hops first home game this season, scheduled for June 18.