SBD/8/Facilities Venues


     Ford Motor Co. "is expected" to announce Thursday that it
will buy the rights to name a new $225M domed stadium in downtown
Detroit, according to Jon Pepper of the DETROIT NEWS.  Citing
sources to the DETROIT NEWS, Pepper writes rights would cost Ford
between $30M and $40M and the company, as it has "yet to settle"
on a name for the planned stadium, would ask one of its ad
agencies to develop a name and marketing plan "to maximize
exposure."  Pepper notes one possibility is to paint the
trademark blue Ford oval logo on the stadium's roof.  The deal,
which needs the approval of Ford's board of directors, would put
the Lions "more than halfway" toward their goal of raising $50M
from private sources for the stadium by November 1.  The team
also received "informal commitments" Monday from key Detroit
business leaders to help raise the remaining money. If Ford
approves the naming rights deal, it would remove a "significant
hurdle" for the plan to build side-by-side stadiums for the Lions
and Tigers.  The Lions and Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer had
solicited each of the Big Three automakers to contribute money to
the stadium, but Pepper reports Chrysler "rejected that bid, and
GM was prepared to do so." Sources say GM "did not want to be
viewed as aiding" the Lions' departure from Pontiac, where the
company recently expanded its truck and bus operations.
Nevertheless, the other auto companies "may still play a role" in
the dome's financing (DETROIT NEWS, 10/8).
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