A Delicate Dance to Balance Interests
Hogan Lovells advises Oracle in acquisition of naming rights to San Francisco Giants stadium

by Julia Cardi

The San Francisco Giants’ home stadium now has its fourth name. The team completed an agreement with Oracle for naming rights that will run through 2038, with the stadium now called Oracle Park. The deal was announced Jan. 10.

A Denver team of Hogan Lovells attorneys advised Oracle in the transaction. The firm, the Giants and Oracle have kept most of the deal’s specifics confidential. Documents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office don’t provide much insight about the details but show a filing to trademark the Oracle Park name dated Jan. 9. The San Francisco Chronicle and Bloomberg previously reported the naming rights deal is worth upward of $200 million.

But Hogan Lovells partners Matthew Eisler and Craig Umbaugh shared the insights they’ve gained from experience about the delicate “dance” that has to take place to balance the different interests involved behind the scenes in a naming rights deal.

“It’s more like a partnership than it is just buying inventory in the stadium,” Eisler said. He specializes in corporate transactions, and he said it’s common for parties on each side to think they’ll always have a good relationship with one other and the deal will never go south. “But it’s highly contentious, because the whole nature of a 20-year deal is trying to predict the future.”

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the January 21, 2019 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.