COMSTOCK PARK — West Michigan’s largest outdoor entertainment venue is changing names following a new partnership announced today.
Minor League baseball club the West Michigan Whitecaps, which owns and operates what has been known as Fifth Third Ballpark for the last two decades, has struck a new multi-year partnership with Lake Michigan Credit Union, which includes renaming the facility LMCU Ballpark.
The 8,942-person capacity facility, located at 4500 W River Drive in Comstock Park, is home to more than 200 events each year, which will include Whitecaps home games beginning in its upcoming 2021 season.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the Whitecaps, thereby linking two well-known and well-respected organizations and we are excited about supporting a beloved West Michigan institution and favorite West Michigan community entertainment destination,” LMCU President and CEO Sandra Jelinski said as part of the partnership announcement.
“The positive impact the Whitecaps have on our community is something that I have admired for the last 27 years, certainly from a business perspective but also as a longstanding member of the community."
The Grand Rapids-based Lake Michigan Credit Union has 55 offices, including 11 in southwest Florida. The credit union has nearly 400,000 members and $9.23 billion in assets.
LMCU is the largest credit union based in Michigan
The stadium, which is one of the few owned by its occupying ball club, was built in 1994 and initially named Old Kent Park. The name changed in 2000 when Fifth Third Bank purchased Old Kent Bank.
LMCU Ballpark, standing as one of the more formidable facilities in Minor League Baseball, features 21 luxury suites, eight hospitality decks and two indoor clubs. In addition to baseball, the park also hosts concerts, festivals and other events.
“I am confident the Whitecaps could not have found a better fit for this franchise-defining partnership moving into the future, than with Lake Michigan Credit Union,” said Joe Chamberlin, CEO of the West Michigan Whitecaps.
“First and foremost, LMCU and the Whitecaps share a very important core value, a passion for improving the West Michigan community. They are a truly local customer- and community-focused organization that has built their brand on service, growth and helping businesses and families thrive.”
The new partnership signifies the end of a 27-year title sponsorship between the Whitecaps and Fifth Third.
“As we neared the end of our current contract, we were both evaluating the next steps,” Fifth Third regional marketing and communications director Scott Stenstrom said in a statement. “For us that meant considering what renewal would look like. For the Whitecaps, the evaluation process included testing the sponsorship market, and they were able to secure a very strong commitment.”
At the end of 2020, the Whitecaps also announced that it had been designated as a High Single A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, a step up from its Low Single A status. The move bumps the Whitecaps up in the hierarchy of the Tigers’ farm system. This means the Whitecaps’ roster will be comprised of players that are one step closer to the Major League franchise.
The active offseason of good news comes on the heels of a 2020 season that never happened due to COVID-19 concerns. The organization said that it plans to play in the upcoming 2021 season and that the season schedule is expected out in the coming weeks.