October 16, 2018

Hanover, UMass Memorial among 16 companies that lured PawSox with sponsorship talks

A rendering of the proposed Polar Park in Worcester, which would be named through a paid agreement for Polar Beverages, one of the first companies to sign on as a major sponsor for the future Worcester Red Sox.

Hanover Insurance Group, UMass Memorial Health Care, the Telegram & Gazette and UniBank were among the more than a dozen business organizations that engaged in sponsorship discussions with the Pawtucket Red Sox prior to the team deciding to leave its Rhode Island home for Worcester before the 2021 baseball season, according to email records obtained by the Worcester Business Journal.

To date, only Worcester insurer Fallon Health has publicly announced an official sponsorship deal with the team, although Worcester manufacturer Polar Beverages has publicly pursued a naming rights deal for the Canal District stadium the City of Worcester is borrowing $100 million to build.

[Related: 10 things we learned about Worcester's PawSox negotiations from reading the city's emails]

However, as the team was making its final decision in July on whether to relocate from Rhode Island in advance of the official Aug. 17 announcement it was doing so, the PawSox senior vice president for sales and marketing, Rob Crain, replied to an email from Jacob Sanders, who handled intergovernmental affairs for the city, confirming the 16 organization who had engaged the PawSox about providing sponsorship for the team.

Those 16 organizations listed in the email are:

- Atlas Distributors of Auburn

- Berkshire Bank of Boston, which bought out Worcester's Commerce Bank

- Coghlin Cos. of Westborough

- The Cooperative Credit Union Association

- Country Bank of Ware

- Fallon Health of Worcester

- FLEXcon of Spencer

- Fontaine Bros. Construction, which is headquartered in Springfield and has a Worcester office

- Hanover Insurance Group of Worcester

- MGM Springfield

- Polar Beverages of Worcester

- Stonegate Group of Natick

- The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester

- UMass Memorial Health Care of Worcester

- UniBank of Whitinsville

- Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and Worcester Business Development Corp.

Corporate support was identified by team executives as one reason why they decided to leave Pawtucket after more than four decades playing in the city. Corporate support from Central Massachusetts was clear even before that. Last August, 98 heads of area companies including Worcester Polytechnic Institute, UMass Memorial Health Care, the law firm Bowditch & Dewey, Niche Hospitality Group, EcoTarium, and the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts signed a letter to the team urging it to move to Worcester.

The city also provided lists of major sponsors for the Worcester Railers, Worcester Bravehearts and College of the Holy Cross athletics as an example to the PawSox when the two sides were in talks to bring the team to Worcester.

The Telegram & Gazette publisher, Paul Provost, was involved in talks in June, according to the email records. The exact nature of the newspaper's involvement isn't clear, but Provost wrote to the team that he looked forward to "an exciting future together" and to "an announcement to make it a reality." Provost also mentioned collective goals in a partnership agreement.


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