Can you hear me now?
Can you hear me now? TOM-KICHI/GETTY (glimpse into the future by me)

Back in September, smack dab in the middle of that whole debate where the Mariners asked King County to fund their new stadium, there was an amendment on the table that would require the Mariners to split some of the revenue accrued from a new naming rights deal.

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It was shot down. The King County Council approved to plug the Mariners' new lease at Safeco Field with $135 million of county money. It would be taken from the hotel-motel tax, funds that were meant to be allocated to affordable housing, the arts, and tourism. The funds were reshuffled, the Mariners—desperate for a handout despite being a $1 billion franchise—came away successfully.

Last week the letters broadcasting "Safeco Field" to the world came down. Slowly but surely, a crane removed Safeco—the insurance brand of our hearts—from Seattle.

Today, Forbes broke the news that T-Mobile will be taking over naming rights at the stadium:

T-Mobile will be the new naming rights partner of the Mariners beginning in 2019 according to sources that spoke on background due to the sensitive nature of the deal. The rights are rumored to be $6 million annually.

The Mariners declined to comment at this time regarding the new naming rights partner. Length, total value, and additional activation of the deal has not yet been revealed to sources.

There's not much information other than the who and the what: T-Mobile, $6 million annually. But, what sucks is that the public will not see that money.

Back in 1999, King County paid for Safeco Field. Voters initially voted against paying for the stadium, but the Mariners took the issue to the Legislature and lo and behold, Safeco Field was brought to fruition. Taxpayer money laid each steel beam and oiled the wheels on that covered roof that may or may not ever move.

The amendment that never was would have split the funding of the naming rights with the public. It skewed in the Mariners' favor, too—the Mariners would keep the first $50 million and then, after that, would split all the money with the taxpayer.

Former Superior Court judge Terrence Carroll was a member of the Public Facilities District, the entity that oversees the Mariners, when the original lease was negotiated.

“Look at the original lease," Carroll said when he talked to The Stranger back in September, "The Mariners get everything; they get the parking revenue, they get concessions, whatever advertising, naming rights."

That last one is a particular issue for Carroll. Safeco is a public entity, built with the public’s money for the public to enjoy.

"The naming rights should belong to the public," Carroll said. "The Mariners were touted as a public entity yet they use the naming rights as another profit venue.”

The Mariners are remaining relatively tight-lipped over the whole affair. Perhaps they're busy doing damage control over their latest scandal, where a former employee accused Mariners leadership of being racist.