Miami Ice: Lexus Acquires Naming Rights To NHL Panthers' Rink
The NHL Panthers "have sold the naming rights to the ice floor at their arena to automaker Lexus, the first deal of its kind in the NHL and only the second one in major league sports," according to Don Muret of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The playing surface beginning next season "will be called Lexus Rink at the BankAtlantic Center." Sources said that the deal’s value is "in the mid- to upper-six figures annually." The "only other deal in the majors in which a team has sold naming rights to its playing surface is in Minneapolis, where the Vikings signed Mall of America in October 2009 to a three-year deal putting its name on the Metrodome field." Lexus has been a founding partner and sponsor of BankAtlantic Center's suite/club level since the facility opened in '98. Sunrise Sports & Entertainment President & COO Michael Yormark noted that the extension "moves Lexus’ assets from those premium spaces to the inner bowl, something company officials requested during negotiations." The deal "does not include in-ice exposure because the Panthers have already sold their four in-ice spots." The BankAtlantic Center name also is "painted near the center circle." Yormark said that the renewal "does give Lexus the first right to buy in-ice space when it becomes available." The Lexus Rink brand "will be spelled out front and center for hockey fans on a new permanent sign attached to the bottom of the center-hung scoreboard." Lexus Rink at the BankAtlantic Center marks also will "adorn the 'lip' at the top of the dasherboards facing the seats in the lower bowl." Panthers officials said that the terms of the agreement "stipulate that Lexus Rink signs will not be activated for concerts and other shows at the arena that do not use the ice floor" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/4 issue).