MercyRockford to Pay for Naming

MercyRockford Health System will pay the Rockford Park District $2 million over 10 years for naming rights to the region’s premier athletics tournament facilities: Sportscore One in northwest Rockford and Sportscore Two in Loves Park.

The new names: MercyRockford Sportscore 1, 1288 Elmwood Road, Rockford, and MercyRockford Sportscore 2, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park. MercyRockford will also have naming rights to the Indoor Sports Center adjacent to Sportscore 2, and it will be the exclusive health care provider for facilities bearing its name. MercyRockford will have the option to renew naming rights for 10 years after the initial contract expires.

Tourism tied to sports tournaments drives spending and supports a significant number of jobs in the Rockford area. Improvements to regional facilities are expected to grow this crucial element of the local economy.

The sale of naming rights is part of a $54 million expansion of outdoor and indoor sports facilities in the region to capture more sports tourism revenue, and health care providers have become partners in the effort.

Last month, UW Health made a 10-year, $1.9 million deal to name the new $24.4 million downtown sports complex the UW Health Sports Factory. SwedishAmerican in Rockford is a division of UW Health. The facility will open in late spring 2016.

A $30 million expansion underway at Sportscore 2 and the Indoor Sports Center will be completed in 2017. MercyRockford will open in the neighborhood in about three years, as it begins construction next year on a $407 million hospital campus on East Riverside Boulevard at Interstate 90. Rockford Memorial Hospital, 2400 N. Rockton Ave., is about 4 miles from Sportscore 1.

“It’s much more than a name,” said Tim Dimke, executive director of the Park District. “It’s much more than a logo. It’s a partnership in advancing our joint facilities into the future.”

Javon R. Bea, MercyRockford’s CEO, said the Sportscore fields and ISC are projected to draw 2.8 million players, fans and other visitors each year. The proximity of hospitals to athletics fields means a market for medical care.

“It isn’t just in the case of injuries or someone having a heart attack,” he said. “When you have that many people, 2.8 million, there are always some health issues that occur.”

Bea said MercyRockford will provide sports training at facilities and work with youths on health and wellness: “Medical complexes aren’t just about medical care. They’re also about promoting health. Obviously athletics is a great way to promote health.”

Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg said financing for the expansion of sports facilities involved 10 municipalities, and the expected economic benefits — a doubling of sports tourism revenues to $34 million a year — will resonate through the area.

“When you talk about regionalism, this is a primary example,” he said.