Fresh off the heels of its 68th birthday celebration, NameRights.com caught up with Whataburger to discuss their role as naming rights sponsor of Whatburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas. Home of the Corpus Christi Hooks (a minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros), the ballpark made its debut in April 2005 and has roughly 5,000 seats with a capacity of over 7,000 people. One of the coolest features of the stadium is the onsite restaurant which offers some of Whataburger’s most popular menu items. In this exclusive Q&A, we learn about the company’s support for the community, how naming rights have helped its brand and why Whataburger Field is one of the “Best Names For A Ballpark”.
What was the initial fan reaction when they learned that the Corpus Christi Hooks would be playing at “Whataburger Field”?
Baseball and Whataburger are two Texan favorites, so you can imagine the excitement when fans learned the Corpus Christi Hooks would be playing at Whataburger Field. Over the years, baseball fans have come to know and expect the scent of burgers rising from the grill at the top of the entryway stairs, right behind home plate. The Hooks aren’t the only ones in the park happy to make a double or triple!
Why was it important for Whataburger to be a part of the local identity of the venue?
Baseball has been a big part of Whataburger’s history since Harmon Dobson founded the company in 1950. He supported Little League teams all the way back then, hosting teams at Whataburger for a burger after their big game. We’re proud to carry on those traditions here, at this amazing venue in the place where Whataburger was born. Corpus Christi was home to the Dobson family, and it’s important we continue investing in this special community. Giving back has been a part of our story since day one, and the Corpus Christi community is no different. Whataburger really wanted to have a part in bringing this stadium to life for the Corpus Christi community. Grace Dobson, Harmon’s wife, even threw out the first pitch (and perfect strike!) during the groundbreaking ceremony to Nolan Ryan in 2005. Since the first pitch more than 13 years ago, we’ve had a great partnership with the Hooks and we’ve seen many young players advance through the minor-league system and try to earn a spot on major league teams.
Support of pro sports is just one of the many ways that Whataburger is involved in the community, what can you tell us about some of your other efforts to support the area?
Whataburger is very proud to serve the communities where we operate through charitable giving and volunteerism to a number of nonprofit organizations that focus on children’s charities, cancer research, hunger assistance, disaster relief and military support. Whataburger has been actively serving the Corpus Christi community in various capacities, from Driscoll Children’s Hospital to Walk the Stage, providing caps and gowns to graduating seniors. We’re also proud to support the Texas State Aquarium. Today’s aquarium features a brand new, expansive interactive exhibit: “Caribbean Journey” including Whataburger’s 4-D theater.
Exclusive Q&A: NameRights.com Chats With Whataburger About Local Support And Sponsorship
How has the equity of the Whataburger brand grown over time and in what ways have you partnered with the team to activate or promote your message?
Whataburger is so proud to attach our name to one of the best minor league baseball stadiums in the country. We have the most loyal fans in Corpus Christi, and it’s been wonderful to see those fans also become fans of the Hooks and Whataburger Field. Whataburger has a long history with the Corpus Christi Hooks and we’ve both joined forces over the past few years to support their Field of Dreams initiative. This field enables developmentally disabled children and adults to participate in baseball and softball on a completely flat, cushioned rubberized playing surface. We’ve also supported Field of Dreams fundraising telethons as well as hosted an area-wide fundraiser at all area restaurants to raise money for damage caused by Hurricane Harvey last year.
The 2018 season is well underway. Why is now a great time to visit Whataburger Field and how would you describe the experience for those who have not yet visited?
The setting in which the Corpus Christi Hooks play is truly inspired. Located on waterfront land, the ballpark is widely applauded for its exceptional sightlines. The best part: Fans attending the Hooks games get to savor the aroma rising from the grill at the top of the entryway stairs, right behind home plate, where a Whataburger unit operates. Although this location offers a more condensed menu, it’s perfectly suited to serve the fans of one of America’s favorite past times their favorite burger!