st. Louis City SC will play soccer at Centene Stadium | Local Business

ST. LOUIS — The region now knows the name of its first Major League Soccer team’s home turf: Centene Stadium.

st. Louis City SC and Clayton-based health care titan Centene Corp. inked a 15-year deal for naming rights for the 22,500-seat stadium at Market and 20th streets where the team will play beginning 2023. Centene will have its name emblazoned on the outside of the facility, the scoreboard and other signage.

st. Louis City SC CEO Carolyn Kindle Betz — whose family, the Taylors of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, owns the team, along with World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh — said the two organizations also will partner on health and wellness initiatives in the region, details of which are still being worked out.

“This is such an exciting partnership,” Kindle Betz said. “We have some great things planned for the region.”

Watch now: STL City announces stadium naming rights partner (Full video)

The deal signals also Centene’s commitment to stay in St. Louis. The company announced in 2020 it is building a $1 billion eastern headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, and that it would hire as many as 6,000 people there over the next decade. Comments from outgoing CEO Michael Neidorff — who had said that crime hurt his company’s ability to recruit top-notch talent to St. Louis — had worried officials that the company would pull out of the region.

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“This is our home,” Centene spokeswoman Marcela Manjarrez said. “We are committed to the community and people who live here.”

st. Louis City SC and Clayton-based health care titan Centene Corp. inked a 15-year deal for naming rights for the 22,500-seat stadium at Market and 20th streets where the team will play beginning 2023. The stadium is seen on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022 in St. Louis. Photo by Laurie Skrivan,

Laurie Skrivan

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. But stadium naming rights can be lucrative for team owners: National Rental Car, a subsidiary of Enterprise, committed to paying $158 million over 20 years for a new riverfront stadium for the Rams before the region’s talks with the NFL imploded.

Edward Jones officials said the company paid more than $32 million over 14 years for the rights at The Dome, the former home of the Rams.

Amazon paid a reported $300 million to $400 million in 2020 to rename Seattle’s KeyArena facility, home to NHL team the Kraken and WNBA team the Storm, to Climate Pledge Arena.

In the MLS, Banc of California inked a deal in 2016 for $100 million over 15 years for the stadium of Los Angeles soccer team LAFC. (The Galaxy, founded in the 1990s, is the LA team that had European greats like David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on its roster.) The company later paid around $20 million to terminate that deal in 2020.

Luxury automaker Audi in 2017 agreed to pay $4 million per year for 10-15 years for naming rights for DC United’s stadium. Financial technology startup Lower agreed to pay between $3 million and $4 million a year for the Columbus, Ohio, soccer stadium, according to the Sports Business Journal.

The City SC partnership marks Centene’s latest foray into sports. In October, the company announced a multiyear agreement with Charlotte’s MLS team, designating Centene as the official health insurance partner for the club.

Centene also has naming rights at the Maryland Heights ice center where the St. Louis Blues practice, and the Clayton facility where Fontbonne University’s soccer and lacrosse teams play.

Manjarrez, the spokeswoman, said the deals are complimentary.

“We invest locally,” she said.

Meanwhile, construction on the downtown stadium, which stretches at least six square blocks north of Market and 20th streets, is slated to finish this summer. When finished, the stadium’s upper seats will offer a 360-degree view of the city skyline, the team said. Construction crews from Alberici, L. Keeley Construction and Mortenson are also building three practice and training fields on the south side of Market Street.

Team officials have given breadcrumbs of milestones over the past year — from announcing St. Louis-based Together Credit Union as its banking partner to unveiling a four-story parking garage and ground-floor retail.

The team also moved forward on renovating its new headquarters — the historic Union Square building at 320 South 21st Street that will house its 150 employees. The property is just steps away from the practice fields.


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