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NAPA Auto Parts installs name on return of AFL’s championship game

The Arena Football League has signed NAPA Auto Parts as title sponsor for its ArenaBowl championship game on Friday.

The low six-figure deal gives NAPA six 30-second commercial spots during the game’s NFL Network broadcast along with full in-arena integration, including dasherboard and turf-square markings. The game will be titled NAPA ArenaBowl XXIII and will be played at the venue of the participating team with the best record.

While this is the 23rd ArenaBowl championship, it’s the first for the new AFL that was relaunched this year after the league shut down in 2009 and was bought out of bankruptcy.

“We had a high level of interest from a healthy list of companies that saw value in the AFL,” said Brian Corcoran, president of Shamrock Sports Group, which represented the AFL on the deal. “It has also been a good lightning rod to get people in the [AFL sponsorship] pipeline for the 2011 season.”

AFL Commissioner Jerry Kurz said more partners may be added to the ArenaBowl.

“Signing one will help move on some of the others who have been interested,” Kurz said. “Things have not moved as rapidly as we would have liked, but given our hiatus, we had to show people that we are back.”

The 15-team AFL will add at least three teams next season, with additions in Kansas City, Philadelphia, and San Jose. A fourth new market is likely to be added, as well, Kurz said.

NAPA officials did not return calls for comment. Spark Communications was NAPA’s agency of record.

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