Meijer gives PAL $750K to sponsor Tiger Stadium field

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

One Michigan institution is about to lend its name to another.

Meijer and the Detroit Police Athletic League confirmed to The Detroit News on Thursday morning they have reached an agreement for the mega-grocery chain to sponsor the playing field at old Tiger Stadium.

Meijer is gifting Detroit PAL $750,000 for at least five years of naming rights to the Tigers’ longtime home. The new development will be called Willie Horton Field of Dreams, presented by Meijer.

“Meijer’s commitment to youth sports is making a difference all over the Midwest,” said Tim Richey, Detroit PAL CEO. “And we are proud to work with them to get kids playing at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.”

In April, PAL broke ground on its new headquarters, to partially enclose the historic playing surface. A new, artificial-turf surface also is being installed, replacing the grass. The project is expected to cost more than $15 million, collected in a massive fundraising effort.

The fundraising effort continues, and PAL soon will have details on brick sales. Fans will be able to purchase a brick in their name or a loved one’s, complete with engraving, to be placed permanently at the site, where the Tigers played for more than a century. The Lions also played there.

The Tiger Stadium development will serve as the main base for more than 13,000 kids who participate in PAL sports, including baseball, football, softball, soccer and cheerleading, among others.

Eventually, the PAL headquarters also will include a “Hall of Heroes,” to pay homage to some of the legendary athletes who once played at Tiger Stadium.

The grand opening for the new development at old Tiger Stadium is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 8-10.

Commercial and residential developments also are planned for the site, unaffiliated with PAL.

PAL, founded in 1969, is hosting its annual MVP Awards Dinner on Thursday night at the Detroit Yacht Club.