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Redskins, Inova reach naming rights deal for Redskins Park

Artist rendering of new Redskins Park signage. (Courtesy the Redskins)

Twenty-four years after they moved into their current Loudoun County home — long known as Redskins Park — the Washington Redskins have reached a 10-year deal to re-name that facility the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.

The team’s first practice-complex naming-rights deal, which will be formally announced on Monday, is part of a strategic partnership with Inova that will include web content, radio and TV shows and community and wellness programs. The team also recently announced that Robin West — the medical director of Inova Sports Medicine — had become its new medical director. A team official described that move as “separate but related” to this week’s announcement.

Terms of the partnership will not be announced.

The Redskins and Inova — a healthcare system based in Northern Virginia — began discussing a formal partnership in early 2014, according to Terry Bateman, the team’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. That process ultimately led to a comprehensive deal that will include a 30-minute weekly sports medicine talk show on SportsTalk 570 (which is controlled by team owner Dan Snyder), the “Inova Sports Medicine-Redskins Medical Minute” on ESPN 980 (another Snyder property), Inova’s involvement with the team’s annual Redskins Health & Wellness TV special on NBC 4 (which is also a team partner), and an Inova-sponsored “Find the Doctor” program aimed at Redskins fans.

The press release announcing the deal will also mention a Redskins-Inova partnership on concussion base-line testing for elementary, high school and college athletes, and on breast-cancer awareness programs. Still, the most immediately obvious change will be in the facility’s name.

“Redskins Park doesn’t go away; we just add a great partner,” Bateman said in an interview. “I think this is a truly a win-win-win. It’s a big win for Inova, it’s a big win for the Redskins and it’s a big win for the community.”

The Redskins broke ground on the original Redskins Park, a seven-acre facility in western Fairfax County, in 1971. As the dimensions of pro football mushroomed, the team eventually outgrew that site, moving into a Loudoun County facility that was three times larger in the summer of 1992. That Ashburn site — where the team headquarters remains — was once known as “the new Redskins Park,” before eventually losing the qualifier.

The new deal will soon lead to new signage on the front of the team’s practice bubble and on the entrance to its facility, and possibly to signage near its Loudoun County Parkway entrance. The team’s letterhead already refers to the “Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park,” and the online, radio and social-media elements of the partnership will begin in the fall.

While the Redskins have often been at the forefront of NFL marketing trends, other teams have sold practice facility naming rights for years. Many of these deals have involved medical companies: the Steelers train at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Rooney Sports Complex, the Jets at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, the Broncos at the UCHealth Training Center and the Dolphins at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University.

Bateman said this deal made sense because of the synergy between a football team’s training facility and its medical operations, as well as the Redskins focus on health and wellness community work. West’s hiring, he said, emerged from the months of conversations between the two organizations, while this broader partnership was negotiated on a separate track.

“The idea that we could pool our resources and come together and create a much more powerful health and wellness platform that can benefit our fans and our entire community just makes perfect sense,” he said. “Our vision, our resources, everything just matched up. And I think both parties feel really good that this is just the right fit.”