Enron and the Houston Astros have reached an agreement by which the Astros regain the right to name their ballpark and can thus drop the name "Enron Field." The agreement is subject to approval by the Federal Bankruptcy Court in New York which is overseeing the Enron bankruptcy.
Earlier this month, the Astros filed a motion with the bankruptcy court asking that the court revoke the club's naming rights agreement with Enron.
When the Astros first approached Enron about rescinding Enron's 30-year, $100 million naming agreement, Enron balked, arguing that their contract was current and paid through August 2002. The Astros tried to argue that Enron was spending money that could be better distributed to creditors in the bankruptcy reorganization, but Enron countered with the argument that the stadium seats the company purchased as part of the agreement would be resold, thus making the money available to creditors.
Enron called the Astros' complaints "nebulous and unsubstantiated" and filed a motion with the bankruptcy court asking for more time to decide on the issue of maintaining the rights to naming Enron Field. But before the matter got to court, an agreement was reached.
If the deal is approved, the Astros will pay Enron $2.1 million to buy back the naming rights to the ballpark. "It's time to move forward," said Astros owner Drayton McLane, Jr. "I am very happy that we have been able to reach this settlement and put this issue behind us."
For now, the field will be referred to as "Astros Field." The Astros are looking for a new sponsor and have indicated that at least seven companies have contacted the team regarding possible sponsorship.