ONEKAMA, MICHIGAN It appears as though the University of Michigan will suspend a long standing policy to keep major corporate sponsorship out of its arenas and stadiums. In a move that Madison Ave is calling brilliant, U of M has accepted an offer from automaker Daimler-Chrysler to change the name of its famed basketball arena from Crisler Arena, to “Chrysler” Arena. It is estimated that auto giant paid a one time lump sum of $1.5 million. The name change will take effect before the 2007 basketball season.
Before making the move the Athletic Department conducted an extensive phone survey of distinguished alumni and donors, and flat out asked the question: “Should the basketball arena permanently be named Chrysler Arena?”. Overwhelmingly the response was affirmative, so the athletic department ran with it. Fan reaction has been mixed.
“I hope they use this money to fixed that patch-work quilt of a roof on Crisler, umm, I mean Chrysler”, said Jan Mussman, a 22 year season ticket holder.
The AM sports talk radio station 1050AM WTKA is already using the new name in advertisements and emails, and initial reaction has been pretty quiet. MVictors.com did find this mention of the new name in WTKA’s November 16 “TKA Ticker” email:
Given the success of this project, the school is current negotiating with Ted Yost, owner of Yost’s Pump & Shop gas station located in Hale, Michigan, for the naming rights to its famed hockey arena.