SunTrust Park, the home of Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise Atlanta Braves, has been renamed Truist Park following a merger between financial services companies SunTrust Bank and BB&T that occurred last summer.

Truist Financial was the entity formed following the merger, with the agreement having then led to talks over what it would mean for the naming rights deal struck for the Braves’ ballpark. The stadium opened as SunTrust Park in March 2017, after SunTrust agreed a 25-year contract with the Braves worth around $250m (£192.4m/€224.7m).

The merger deal necessitated a change in name for the ballpark, with Truist Park being settled on. The stadium’s branding will transition to include the Truist logo and signature purple colour. Major branding will be in place in time for opening day of the 2020 MLB season in March, and the full rebrand of the stadium will be complete by opening day of the 2021 season.

Fans can start to experience Truist Park’s new brand identity at the Braves’ annual Chop Fest Weekend on January 24-25. Additionally, to help celebrate the name change, the Braves and Truist are offering all children aged 14 and under a free ticket to attend a Braves game in April, excluding opening day.

The opportunity to rename the stadium had led to some fans calling for the ballpark to honour Braves legend Hank Aaron. This would have needed the club to walk away from, or significantly renegotiate, the lucrative naming rights contract, which runs until 2042. While this hasn’t happened, Truist has committed to commemorate Aaron.

“I am honoured to announce that, over the next 10 years, Truist will refurbish one youth baseball field a year and name each after Hank Aaron, the Braves home run king,” Dontá Wilson, chief digital and client experience officer for Truist, said yesterday (Tuesday).

“This is an incredible opportunity to partner with a Braves legend and make a difference in the lives of youth by creating spaces where kids can learn about teamwork, build friendships, and make memories to last a lifetime.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper said variations such as Truist Field and Truist Stadium were considered, only for officials to decide that ‘Park’ needed to be retained in the new identity.

“We ended up looking at a whole range of different combinations of words in association with Truist,” said Derek Schiller, president and CEO of the Atlanta Braves.

“But ultimately, we kept going back to the fact that this is a ballpark first and foremost, and having the term ‘Park’ in the name seemed to be very natural. We’ve got well over 20 years left in this (naming rights) relationship, and Truist Park is the name we think works best.”

Image: Atlanta Braves