Waterfront Park becomes Arm & Hammer Park under Thunder and Church & Dwight licensing deal

What has been Mercer County Waterfront Park since the Thunder’s introduction in 1994 will now be known as Arm & Hammer Park.

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, Church & Dwight and the Trenton Thunder announced a 20-year partnership expansion that gave the company naming rights to the ballpark.

Church & Dwight, Arm & Hammer’s parent company, is currently located in Princeton, but the organization is in the process of moving its world headquarters to Ewing. The building is expected to open in January 2013. The company owns 80 other brands including Oxiclean, Nair and Orajel.

“[Thunder owner] Joe Plumeri and I started thinking about whose name we wanted on the ballpark,” Thunder president Joe Finley said. “We didn’t want just anybody. We preach family values and family entertainment, so it was important to us to have the right partner. I think we have that partner here in Church & Dwight.”

The two organizations have been partners since 1994.

The Thunder and the New York Yankees recently agreed to a deal that will extend their affiliation until 2022. Church & Dwight CEO Jim Craigie said that played a part in the company’s decision.

“It’s very important to us that they now have a 10-year commitment from the Yankees,” he said. “It’s the best franchise in baseball. To be associated with the Yankees and one of their minor league parks, especially one that’s so well-run, I just couldn’t wait.”

In addition to Finley and Craigie, Mercer County Park Commission Executive Director Kevin Bannon, Thunder general manager Will Smith, and former Yankee pitcher David Cone spoke at the press conference.

“What great name recognition,” Cone said. “You need that corporate sponsorship to come in and keep these ballparks viable, and this is an amazing ballpark. It’s closer to the major league level than anything I’ve ever seen.”

This most recent move solidifies Church & Dwight’s presence in Mercer County.

“They didn’t move across the river to Pennsylvania,” Finley said of the company’s decision to transfer from Princeton to Ewing. “They didn’t move anywhere else. They stayed not only in New Jersey, but in Mercer County. I think that says a lot about [Craigie] and the board of directors and all of the management at Church & Dwight.”

Craigie said the ballpark’s proximity to the Church & Dwight headquarters was another plus to the licensing deal.

“This partnership makes sense on so many levels,” he said. “We made a long-term commitment to stay in Mercer County. Arm & Hammer Park allows us to build on this commitment by working together with the Trenton Thunder to deliver entertainment to the thousands of families who come to games each year.”

Craigie expanded on this, saying the company will also build on its commitment to the county philanthropically. He said Church & Dwight has donated several million dollars in the past few years to local charities such as food banks and, most recently, to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief.

“The Trenton Thunder has been a very generous organization that supports many of the same groups we do,” he said. “By working together, we hope to provide greater public awareness and support for those groups and causes.”

As part of the deal, Church & Dwight is entitled to use the Yankee Club box at the park 15 times per year. Craigie said even this small part of the agreement can have implications on the company.

“We can have business meetings here,” he said. “We can bring suppliers out to a ballgame. How much better can you get? It’s part of the community we’re building out here in New Jersey. We’re a New Jersey company. We’re proud to be here.”