Indianapolis has Lucas Oil Stadium. Detroit has Comerica Park. And now South Bend has Four Winds Field.
The naming rights to the home of the Silver Hawks have been purchased by the casino-owning Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
The dollar amount was not revealed, although the team guaranteed that there would be no need for publicly funded improvements for at least a decade.
“The taxpayers have been asked to contribute to the Silver Hawks for some time and we really want to put a stop to that,” said Silver Hawks owner Andrews Berlin.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg called the agreement a win for taxpayers. “At the time I took office there was a great deal of community discussion about how much we as taxpayers could afford to put into improving our great ball park at Stanley Coveleski Stadium. Now we’re in a position to unlock new resources, shifting the burden from the taxpayer into the private sector in a way that’s beneficial to all.”
This year the Silver Hawks have had 20 standing room only crowds in 71 home games, in what is being described as a “magic” season.
Team owner Berlin says that a “number of organizations expressed an interest in the naming rights, but that the tribe made the best fit.
“We’ve always been here, we will always be here,” said Tribal Chairman Matt Wesaw. “It helps us to get people to understand that because, to be honest with you, not everybody realizes who the tribe is, what the tribe is, and kind of what we’re all about.”
Andrew Berlin says that the money will fund stadium improvements beyond the city’s wildest dreams. “This helps obviously fund the ‘party tower.’ In terms of the marketing that we want to do, the further development we want to do, we’re also looking at a possible second story to Coveleski Stadium and we’ll add more grandstands and more suites, those are possibilities we’re considering.”
Furthermore, Berlin believes that the agreement will have benefits well beyond the baseball diamond. “The vote of confidence here will attract more business, more developers, more projects, more transactions, more interest to bring people who want to build their homes here, build their apartments here, build their shopping and retail, hotels, it’ll, we are investing in the future of what we believe will be a thriving city once again.”