Venue News: Target Extends Sports’ Longest-running Naming-rights Relationship

Target is expected to announce this week that it has agreed to keep its name on the Minnesota Timberwolves’ and WNBA Lynx’s home arena for three more seasons, extending professional sports’ longest-running venue naming-rights relationship to 2014. According to Target, the terms were comparable to the company’s previous agreement, which expired Aug. 31. The Minneapolis-based retailer has paid the teams’ ownership group about $30 million since the original naming-rights deal began in late 1989 for the arena, which opened in September 1990 — or an average of about $1.5 million a season. In addition to its presence with the Wolves and Lynx, Target sponsors the Minnesota Wild, the Minnesota Twins (including naming rights at the club’s new ballpark), and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers…

…After a South Carolina man was arrested for using a stun gun at last Sunday’s Cowboys-Jets game at MetLife Stadium, the NFL has strengthened its security measures for fans entering stadiums around the league. Beginning with this weekend’s games, the league has requested that each of the 32 teams have their stadium security teams search all fans from the ankles to the knees. That will be in addition to the pat-down procedure from the waist up that already was in place. The searches affected both Jets and Giants fans this past Sunday and Monday. Teams throughout the NFL are asking fans to arrive at the gates early and be patient with new security procedures…

… After years of talk and study, the Edmonton Oilers are pushing the city to finally get an arena deal done by Halloween. The $450-million arena deal is similar to what was originally pitched years ago; the Oilers will put up $100 million toward arena construction and put money into downtown redevelopment. However, there remains a large hole in the funding plan: $100 million was sought from the province, but nothing has materialized. Opponents of the new arena say this hole, as well as the lack of any deal with Northlands over the future of Rexall Place, should be grounds for yet more discussions and deliberations. As the arena deal has remained fundamentally unchanged for years, imposing a deadline may force the Oilers to decide between building the arena or reevaluating their future in Edmonton…

… Commissioners and city leaders of Franklin County, OH, said that they support the plan to spend millions of public dollars to help buy Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The group claims that the plan is not about bailing our the team, but about protecting and expanding the 10,000 jobs in the Arena District. Mayor Michael Coleman said that the jobs rely on a thriving Nationwide Arena. In 1997, before the arena was built, Franklin County voters said ‘no’ to a tax increase that would publicly fund the arena. The millions Columbus and the county will spend on the deal will come from a percentage of revenue they receive from new casinos in Ohio.

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