Milwaukee Brewers sue ATI Physical Therapy over sponsorship deal

Ball club seeks $1.7 million for breach of contract

Miller Park

Last updated on July 7th, 2019 at 02:20 pm

The area behind the right field wall at Miller Park will likely have a new look in 2017 as the Milwaukee Brewers are suing Bolingbrook, Illinois-based ATI Physical Therapy, the sponsor of the ATI Club patio seating area, over breach of contract.

Miller Park
Miller Park

The Brewers are seeking more than $1.7 million from ATI, arguing the company walked away from a sponsorship agreement the two sides worked out between September and December of last year. The club filed the lawsuit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Monday and the company moved on Wednesday to shift the case to the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin.

According to the complaint, the two sides began working on a new, three-year sponsorship agreement last year that would have run from 2017 to 2019.

The deal called for ATI to pay the Brewers $570,000 in 2017, $581,400 in 2018 and $593,028 in 2019 and in return the company would get:

  • To be designated as the “Official Physical Therapy Partner of the Milwaukee Brewers”
  • Naming rights for the right field group seating area known as the ATI Club. Staff in the area would wear ATI branded shirts, guests would get ATI ticket lanyards and the company’s name would be incorporated into the area’s signage.
  • Use of the club, including 75 tickets, for three games each year, four season tickets in the field level infield area, a $5,000 ticket credit for each season, and 350 tickets to a mutually agreed upon game.
  • To conduct one on-field batting practice event with 40 participants.
  • Two ceremonial first pitches.
  • Sponsorship of the 7th inning stretch with their logo incorporated on the scoreboard.
  • Several online and print advertising opportunities.
  • Two one-hour player appearances each season.

The agreement also called for the two parties to work together on a half-day sports medicine symposium for physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists and students.

The complaint says the two sides agreed to the general terms of the sponsorship and put them in document form. In early November, ATI sought “several minor changes” which the Brewers agreed to.

But the club says by December ATI had taken the position that the agreement was not binding and it had no obligation to the Brewers.

In a letter to ATI, Brewers vice president and general counsel Marti Wronski wrote that both sides had mutually agreed to the sponsorship and ATI couldn’t “evade its clear contractual obligations merely by refusing to sign the physical document.”

ATI general counsel Robert McKenzie responded to Wronski by reiterating the company believes no contract exists.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.