National Guard reportedly considering deal

WASHINGTON -- Officials in the nation's capital could finalize a stadium sponsorship agreement for Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium as early as Monday -- perhaps with the National Guard.

The District of Columbia Sports and Entertainment Commission has reportedly been talking to three groups about a three-year contract that would link a sponsoring entity's name and logo to RFK for all Washington Nationals home games through the end of the 2007 season.

The Washington Post reported in Saturday's editions that the National Guard is considering paying $6 million for the naming rights. If an agreement is reached, the renovated ballpark could be known as National Guard Field at RFK.

At least two members of the D.C. Council are expressing optimism that a deal will be worked out in time for the Nationals' home opener Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"It would be truly outstanding," councilman Vincent B. Orange told The Post. He described a pact between the National Guard and the Nationals as "the perfect marriage."

The National Guard has units affiliated with the Air Force and Army in the district, other U.S. territories and all 50 states. While most sports venue sponsorships have corporate ties, the U.S Army has recently established ties with NASCAR to bolster recruiting.

Money raised from naming rights at RFK would be used for youth programs in the district, including rehabilitation of recreation centers and athletic fields.

Spokesmen for the D.C. Sports Commission and the National Guard could not be reached for comment on Saturday.