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ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER NAMING RIGHTS DEAL: FORD ON LIONS DOME?
Published October 8, 1996
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).