MADISON, Ala. - BallCorps's Name the Team contest is gaining lots of interest from the community, but some urged the city council in Madison on Monday to make sure the word "Madison" appears in that name.
Team owners at BallCorps released the Top 10 List last month. Since then, they say they've had more than 15,000 votes.
Bill Lawler and one other citizen spoke up during the citizen comment portion of Monday's council meeting to tell the council they want Madison to be represented in the team's name.
"This is Madison, Alabama. And I would love to see this council really stress that," Lawler said.
"Consider the importance to the residents and citizens who are paying for it to have Madison in the name of the team," another resident echoed.
Mayor Paul Finley explained that he felt the same way when the city was striking a deal with the team. So much so, he noted, that the team name comes up in the city's lease and license agreement with BallCorps (as WHNT News 19 previously reported).
"We are very understanding that Madison is something we are all very proud of. This council, when they approved the contract with BallCorps, it dictates it must be 'Madison'," he said, "unless they determined that a better name, or a more area focused name, which could help us with buy-in from the entire community and not just Madison," he told Lawler. "But that would be something the council would decide."
Finley later explained that the city council would need to vote on a name if it were to be changed from Madison to a more regional identifier, like 'North Alabama' or 'Rocket City.'
If that does happen, the ball team would need to pay more on stadium utilities, Finley said.
"The city will pay less in utility costs, as part of a give and take with the ball team," said Mayor Finley. He added in an interview, "The rate would change from 60-40 to 75-25," which he explained means that BallCorps would shoulder 75% of the costs to the city's 25% obligation.
Finley said he understands why people want to see Madison in the name. But he also understands that the team will need support from outside the city limits.
"I think it is always important to have the ability to have control. And we have control with the name, that's what the council and mayor wanted," he stated. "I also recognize that this is a team that everyone in North Alabama and the Tennessee Valley hopefully will be rooting for and coming to see. So I'm not as caught up as some are on 'Madison'," he said, "because we in turn, in generating the most excitement and revenue, want the most buy-in we can get."
Finley said that he has enjoyed hearing opinions from the citizens of Madison. He respects their feelings and ideas about the team.
The Top 5 names will be announced on Friday. On September 5, BallCorps will release the top name. Later, they will reveal merchandise and logos for that choice.
"Our goal is to find the best overall name, not only for Madison but for the Tennessee Valley," Finley said.