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TIGERS OWNER MULLS NAMING RIGHTS DEAL, AGAINST HIS WISHES
Published March 10, 1998
Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch "wants to call the team's new ballpark either The Tiger Ballpark or Tiger Stadium," but he "might not get his wish," according to John Lowe of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Yesterday, for the first time, Ilitch said he might sell the naming rights to the ballpark, saying such a move "might be the price" for having a "state-of-the- art" stadium. Lowe writes that with Ford already acquiring naming rights to the Lions' stadium, Detroit-based GM and Chrysler are the "most obvious candidates" for the Tigers. The "feeling in the Tigers organization" is that it can get "at least" $40M for the naming rights. Ilitch "downplayed recent indications" that he and "several" banks can't agree on collateral for a $145M loan for the ballpark, and said that he's "ready to invest an extra" $20M in the facility. He added that he "doesn't know if he can get more" financing from the banks, which may lead to the naming rights sale. Ilitch said he could resist selling naming rights if the team is "within budget" on the park (FREE PRESS, 3/10).