The Dodgers aren’t selling naming rights to Dodger Stadium. But, a few years from now, you might be able to attend a game at, say, Bank of America Field at Dodger Stadium and bet on Walker Buehler to win the game you would be about to watch.
As the Dodgers unveiled their latest round of stadium renovations Tuesday, they showed a video of a plaza beyond center field that features statues of Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson, shops, food stands and a play area for children. The Dodgers might sell naming rights to the plaza, but they also might sell naming rights to the field itself.
The lure of national attention from next year’s All-Star game could prompt a corporate sponsor to pay up to put its name and logo on the field. Neither the stadium nor the field has carried a corporate name since the ballpark opened in 1962, and no deal appears imminent, but team President Stan Kasten said it is worth exploring whether a sponsor could find a beneficial deal when fans would simply continue to call the ballpark Dodger Stadium.
“It depends who you are and what you are looking for, what the package is, and what the price includes,” Kasten said. “I don’t think there is one way to answer that question. That’s not a thing that would work for everyone. It might work for some people. We’ll find out.”
The renovations include sports bars that overlook the bullpen — but not the field — beneath the pavilions in left and right field. But the artist rendering of the renovations distributed by the Dodgers depicts a ribbon of odds on games in Major League Baseball and other pro sports leagues, suggesting the team could use the spaces as a sports bar and a sports book.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that any state that wished to legalize sports betting could do so. Although sports betting now is legal in 10 states, California is not one of them.
Two legislators last month introduced a bill calling for a statewide vote on sports betting in 2020. It is unclear whether that bill might pass, particularly given the fierce opposition of the Native American tribal casino operators.
In the best-case scenario for sports betting, the earliest bets could be taken at Dodger Stadium would be the 2021 season. Kasten said the team would nonetheless open the sports bars next year, with no sports betting.
“Right now, not only is it not legal in California,” Kasten said, “it’s also not legal in baseball rules, to have a betting venue at a stadium.”
Since it is unclear when sports betting might be legalized in California, why would the Dodgers publicize a rendering that makes it appear sports betting is coming to Dodger Stadium?
“It’s a rendering for the possibilities and the capabilities,” Kasten said. “Right now, it is for sure, for the foreseeable future, going to be sports bar areas. And there is an awful lot of business for sports bars.
“Trust me, we can’t have enough sports bars.”