Well, it’s official: Minnesota United’s new home stadium will be Allianz Field.
The club and insurance company Allianz Life announced a multi-year partnership Tuesday morning at United’s offices in Golden Valley, despite a Monday afternoon Twitter snafu when Allianz Life posted a premature tweet-and-delete announcing the name and linking to a video tour of the upcoming stadium.
“Maybe it wasn’t the best-kept secret in town,” Allianz Life president and CEO Walter White said. “We like to call it a soft launch, not a Twitter snafu.”
White said he received a lot of messages Monday night after the “soft launch” from many excited employees who are Loons fans. Allianz Life, based just two miles down the road from United’s offices, is a life insurance company subsidiary of Munich-headquartered Allianz SE and has about 1,900 employees. While Allianz is more of a household name in Europe, White said he is hoping this stadium naming deal will help bring more brand recognition in the U.S.
Team owner Bill McGuire declined to give any financial particulars on the naming rights deal.
“We have no intention, similar to any of our other partnerships, of talking about details,” McGuire said. “All we’d say is that any funding that comes into the club or the organization flows into the construction of a brand new … state-of-the-art stadium.”
The Loons’ $150 million stadium with 19,400 capacity is under construction – with the help of United’s office neighbors Mortenson Construction – in the St. Paul Midway neighborhood. It is set to open for the 2019 season. In the meantime, United plays at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.
Allianz Field will be the first Allianz-sponsored stadium in North America but the eighth overall through four continents. The most famous is Allianz Arena, the home of German league champion FC Bayern Munich. Allianz also sponsors FC Barcelona, one of the top Spanish clubs.
“Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Minnesota United FC,” McGuire said. “That’s pretty good company. We’ll take that any day.”
United sporting director Manny Lagos said it was pretty exciting to now have the Loons associated with some of the best teams and cities in the world.
“Today’s a really big day globally,” Lagos said. “There’s a reason why this press conference is at 8:30 [a.m.], so that this can go across the entire European continent that Minnesota is going to be one of the exclusive groups that has Allianz as their stadium.”
McGuire said discussions with Allianz intensified in the last year or so, but the idea actually first came up about three years ago as a “bit of a dream” when United was first exploring entering Major League Soccer.
Since then, McGuire said, there was much discussion on what the second part of the stadium’s name would be, and it came down to wanting to diversify not only from Allianz’s other stadium names but also other names in the Twin Cities market.
That, and “Allianz Pitch,” as a field is called in soccer terms, “doesn’t quite have the ring.”