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American Family Insurance To Be New Brewers Naming Rights Sponsor

Madison-Based Insurance Company Also Planning Downtown Milwaukee Office

Miller Park, Milwaukee
Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Gretchen Brown/WPR

MillerCoors announced Tuesday it will give up the naming rights to Milwaukee’s Miller Park after the 2020 season.

The naming rights to the Major League Baseball stadium — home to the Milwaukee Brewers — will go to American Family Insurance in 2021. The Madison-based insurance company is also planning to build or lease an office building in downtown Milwaukee within the next two or three years, American Family CEO Jack Salzwedel said.

“We’re looking at old buildings, we’re looking to renovate, we’re also looking at the potential to build a new building or to lease as well,” Salzwedel said. “Hopefully within the next three to four months we’ll have chosen and announce something.”

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American Family will hire an undisclosed number of employees to work in high tech postions including data analytics and software engineers, Salzwedel said. He is currently working with the mayor’s office and the Milwaukee Department of City Development on the project. Salzwedel said it is part of American Family’s ongoing committment to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, left, Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger and American Family CEO Jack Salzwedel speak at a press conference on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Corri Hess/WPR

The Brewers partnership epitomizes the company’s brand and values, Salzwedel said.

“This is a smart marketing investment for us,” he said. “We do not have the mega-advertising budget of other large insurance companies. Our marketing philosophy is to pursue creative, authentic and inspiring opportunites that align with the principle of value. This is one of those opportunites.”

American Family said the Brewers came to them last summer about the 15-year agreement that will begin in 2021. The details of the contract were not disclosed.

American Family Insurance was founded in Madison in 1927. It is the largest provider of personal auto and homeowners insurance in Wisconsin.

MillerCoors said in a written statement that the “incredibly rich offer,” could not be matched by MillerCoors, which has been the naming rights sponsor since Miller Park opened in spring 2001.

“While the name on the stadium will change after the 2020 season, we fully expect Brewers fans inside and outside the stadium will continue to celebrate every home run and every strike out with one of our beloved brands,” MillerCoors said in a statement.

The state Legislature approved a new tax to fund the majority of the stadium construction. In 1996, Miller purchased the naming rights to Miller Park through the 2020 season for $40 million to fund the remainder of the stadium.

“Were it not for Miller Brewing, Major League Baseball would have looked a lot different in Milwaukee — if it existed there at all,” MillerCoors’ statement reads. Miller and Molson Coors entered a joint venture to create MillerCoors in 2008.

The Miller Park naming rights deal is the second major Milwaukee sponsorship America Family Insurance is involved in. The company is building a $50 million amphitheater on the Summerfest grounds. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2020.