For TD Ameritrade's chief executive officer, putting the company's name on the new downtown ballpark is a statement that it's here to stay.
Minutes before a press conference Wednesday where the name TD Ameritrade Park was formally announced, Chief Executive Officer Fred Tomczyk offered assurances that the online brokerage firm would keep its headquarters in Omaha. The company employs about 2,000 people in the Omaha area.
"I think this is a statement to the city," Tomczyk said. "This is our headquarters, and we have no intention of changing that."
Joe Ricketts started Ameritrade more than 30 years ago in Omaha, but the family no longer holds a controlling stake in the company.
Its biggest shareholder is now Toronto Dominion Bank. TD was added to the Ameritrade name after the merger of Ameritrade with the Canadian bank's U.S. brokerage arm in 2006.
As other companies such as Level 3 Communications, First Data Resources and Enron have moved headquarters from Omaha, concern arose that Ameritrade could as well.
Speculation increased last year after it was announced that Tomczyk, the successor to CEO Joe Moglia, would continue living in New Jersey, where TD Ameritrade has executive offices.
At Wednesday's event at the site of the stadium, Mayor Jim Suttle jokingly offered up a downtown condo in an attempt to convince Tomczyk to move to Omaha.
Chief Financial Officer Bill Gerber also spoke of the company's commitment to Omaha, noting previously announced plans to consolidate four metro-area offices and more than 2,000 local employees into a new Old Mill headquarters.
Under the naming rights agreement, TD Ameritrade will pay an average of about $1 million a year over 20 years. The annual payments will start around $750,000 and go up from there. The city is counting on revenues from the naming rights to help pay for the stadium's construction.
The deal, "truly reflects how public-private partnerships work" Suttle said.TD Ameritrade Park will generate more revenue from naming rights than its neighbor, the Qwest Center Omaha.
Qwest paid $14 million to get the rights to the convention center and arena property for 15 years.
The $128 million, 24,000-seat ballpark at 14th and Webster Streets will host the CWS for the first time in 2011. The downtown ballpark will replace Rosenblatt Stadium, which has been home to the CWS since 1950.
The naming rights negotiations were among the city, MECA and TD Ameritrade. The NCAA was not directly involved.
Moglia said in June of last year that TD Ameritrade was interested in buying the stadium's naming rights, but talks got serious last fall.
"It was time for us to go forward and commit," Tomczyk said. "This city has been good to us."