Before winning a Midwest League championship on the field last week, the Quad-Cities River Bandits extended what River Bandits owner Dave Heller calls “a championship partnership’’ off the field.
Rock Island-based Modern Woodmen of America has exercised an option to extend its naming rights agreement with the River Bandits for 10 years, meaning that Quad-Cities baseball players will be stepping into the batter’s box at Modern Woodmen Park through at least the 2027 season.
“It’s been a great partnership for the last 10 years and it continues to be a perfect fit for us,’’ Heller said. “They share our mission of giving back to the community and like the River Bandits, family is at the heart of what they do.’’
The fraternal financial services organization first purchased naming rights to the Davenport riverfront stadium in December, 2007, signing a 10-year agreement which included a 10-year option to extend the original deal which was worth $200,000 annually.
The new agreement is valued at $250,000 annually, a total of $2.5 million, and extends what has been a growing partnership between the organizations.
In addition to the naming rights agreement, Modern Woodmen has hosted nights at the ballpark for its members and employees and has sponsored the River Bandits’ kids club in past seasons.
“It’s been a great partnership and it has been the right fit for our organization,’’ said Michelle Opsahl, a public relations specialist for Modern Woodmen. “Baseball has been part of the Quad-Cities for generations and Modern Woodmen has been part of the Quad-Cities for close to 135 years.’’
Opsahl said years ago, Modern Woodmen organizations fielded local amateur baseball teams that would compete against teams made up of members of the organization from different communities.
“We have our own baseball history and in the Quad-Cities, we have a history of giving back to the community much like the River Bandits,’’ Opsahl said.
Modern Woodmen’s national headquarters sits across the Mississippi River from the right field wall of the Davenport riverfront stadium which has been the home of professional baseball in the Quad-Cities since 1931.
The Rock Island-based organization is a national company which employs 500 people in the Quad-Cities and has approximately 1,600 employees nationwide.
“Modern Woodmen is an organization that sees the value of being here and our partnership has grown over time,’’ Heller said. “They’ve just been wonderful to work with and we look forward to another great 10 years of family fun at Modern Woodmen Park.’’
The Davenport riverfront stadium now known as Modern Woodmen Park was constructed in 1931 as Municipal Stadium.
The facility was renamed in 1971 as John O’Donnell Stadium, honoring a 43-year sports editor at Davenport newspapers. The press box at Modern Woodmen Park is named after O’Donnell and a bronze plaque near the entry of the facility recognizes his career.
The stadium underwent a $13.5 million renovation prior to the 2004 season and at that time, it was anticipated naming rights would be sold to help cover higher lease payments put in place to cover the club’s portion of the renovation costs.