The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday announced that the naming rights to the arena's “four main entrances have been sold to four companies, a move that provides significant new revenue,” according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The four companies are Miller Lite, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Kohl's Department Stores and Potawatomi Bingo Casino. Financial details were not disclosed, although “it is a multiyear agreement.” It marks the “first time the BMO Harris Bradley Center has secured corporate gate sponsors.” The announcement comes “just months after BMO Harris Bradley Center officials and the MMAC were able to secure new financial commitments to operate and maintain the building over the next few years.” The new revenue in effect “buys time to keep the arena operating while MMAC and other civic officials continue to study the possibility of financing and building a new arena.” The new gate names “take effect immediately,” with interior and exterior signage to be “installed in the next 30 days.” BMO Harris Bradley Center officials and the Bucks, the main tenant in the building, are also “close to announcing they have signed a new, six-year lease” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/19).
Fall River, Mass., Mayor Will Flanagan is "hoping to convince" MLS Revolution Owner Robert Kraft "to move the team" to the city, according to Will Richmond of the Fall River HERALD NEWS. Flanagan on Tuesday issued a letter to Kraft "suggesting that Fall River be considered as the potential host" for a soccer stadium that would house the team. The letter "comes as reports have indicated that Kraft is considering building a 20,000 seat soccer stadium in Revere or Somerville." Flanagan in the letter suggests that Fall River's "large Portuguese population, along with the city’s residents love for both playing and watching the sport, should have Kraft considering moving the team 40 miles south of Foxboro as opposed to locating in the Boston suburbs." Flanagan also "pitches the ease of which visitors could access the city due to major highways such as Interstate 195 and Route 24 intersecting the city lines." Flanagan "declined to identify any potential sites for a stadium, but said that should Kraft be willing to consider Fall River he’d be prepared to present his group with a tour of locations, as well as present incentives for building in Fall River." Flanagan said that the "incentives would be worth the investment as the construction of a stadium would also help to create jobs" (Fall River HERALD NEWS, 10/17).
The vision for new facilities at the Univ. of Kentucky's Rupp Arena "becomes clearer every day," according to SPORTING NEWS' Mike DeCourcy, who was taken on a tour of the "under-construction locker and ancillary facilities" by UK men's basketball coach John Calipari. Calipari pointed out several amenities Monday, including a "palatial locker room"; a theater "for players and coaches to break down game video"; and a large players lounge. Also included is a "new booster's room where they can gather ... and watch through windows as the players proceed to the court." There also is a "kitchen area that will allow players to have their pregame meal there, individual showers with beautiful, high-end tiling and separate hot and cold tubs for postgame treatments." The design incorporated "the floor on which UK won its eighth NCAA championship last April; the foul line portion of the court will serve as the entrance to the Wildcats’ locker room, and the center jump circle will be in the middle of the players’ locker area." Calipari said that UK raised $2M "to cover the reconstruction, which not only will benefit the Wildcats but also will make Rupp more attractive as a site for NCAA Tournaments." The renovations include the "construction and/or refurbishing of five secondary locker rooms that can be used for NCAA events and the installation of two large new quarters for game officials." The arena will "host a sub-regional site in the 2013 tournament in March" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 10/17).
GOING HOLLYWOOD: In N.Y., Zach Braziller noted ESPN premiered "All-Access Kentucky" on Wednesday night at 7pm ET. The show will air the next two weeks and will "chronicle the lives of the Kentucky’s men’s basketball team and Calipari." After the first three episodes are shown, the network "will decide where to go from there." ESPN VP/Original Programming & Production Jamie Horowitz said, "The fun thing when you do a documentary-style series is you don’t know the answers. We’re gonna cover whatever happens. We’re really just observers; what happens is what ends up in the series." Horowitz "felt Calipari and the Wildcats were the ideal subject, concerning the rabid support the program gets and the animosity it receives from detractors" (NYPOST.com, 10/17). In Kentucky, John Clay wrote for the "most part, the first 'episode' of this behind-the-scenes look inside the Kentucky basketball program was exactly what I thought it might be, a promotional video for the Kentucky basketball program." High school recruit Aaron Harrison following his commitment to attend UK next year said, "Coach Cal can make our dream come true faster than the normal coach." Clay: "Whatever six-figure check the school wrote for that laser light show at Big Blue Madness last week pales in comparison to the priceless promotional punch of that quote" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 10/17).
There has "never been a concert" at the Univ. of Georgia's Sanford Stadium, and after country singer Jason Aldean "stages one there next spring, there never will be again," according to Chris Talbott of the AP. Aldean Thursday announced the show during a surprise appearance at UGA's Legion Field, where he "played six songs for a crowd called together under the pretense of a pep rally for the football team." Aldean also announced "historic shows at Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago." He will be the "first country music star to play a concert at Fenway Park" on July 13, the "initial stop on his 2013 tour." Aldean made the announcement Thursday morning at Fenway Park "with the Green Monster in the background, and with an assist from" Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino. Red Sox DH David Ortiz, 2B Dustin Pedroia and C Jarrod Saltalamacchia "welcomed Aldean in a video, and he signed the wall inside the scoreboard." Aldean said, "Being the first country music artist to ever come here and headline a show is amazing." Talbott noted the Cubs "gave him a blue team hoodie for the announcement in Chicago." Aldean is one of country music's "top draws, but the stadium tour will move him into rare company." Currently, only Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney "have that kind of drawing power" (AP, 10/18). In Boston, gossip columnists Shanahan & Goldstein noted Gillette Stadium reportedly "will soon announce dates" for a series of Chesney/Eric Church concerts at the stadium, as well as a "possible" Swift tour stop (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/16).
NOT UP TO STANDARDS: Aldean will be joined at Fenway Park by Miranda Lambert, and in Boston, Jed Gottlieb writes, "How boring is that?" Gottlieb: "Those modern country kings and queens have a place. And that place is Gillette Stadium." Fenway is "not a bad idea, but it's a bland one." Fenway shows "should be special" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/19). The ballpark has hosted Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, the Dave Matthews Band and New Kids on the Block, among others, in recent years (THE DAILY).
In Tampa, Puente & Nohlgren report the city of St. Petersburg “threatened to sue any Hillsborough County officials who even discuss possible new stadium locations” with the Rays. The threat “came in a letter from St. Petersburg City Attorney John Wolfe to Hillsborough County attorneys.” It marks an “escalation of tension between the city and Hillsborough commissioners, who in August invited the Rays to appear before them to talk about baseball.” Hillsborough Commission Chair Ken Hagan on Thursday “shrugged off St. Petersburg's letter and said he was still excited about having the Rays speak” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/19).
GAME OF PICKUP: In Hartford, Paul Doyle writes Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco is “focused on the future of the women's basketball tournament.” Next year “will mark the second year of a two-year agreement” for the tourney to be held at XL Center, which has hosted the event since '04. Big East Associate Commissioner/Women’s Basketball Danielle Donehew said that the conference has “had preliminary talks, but negotiations won't intensify until March and an announcement will likely come during this year's tournament.” XL Center is operated by AEG, but the company's contract to run the building “expires next year and the issue will need to be resolved before serious negotiations with the Big East begin” (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/19).
A SCANNER DARKLY: In N.Y., Rich Calder writes Barclays Center is “still treating its fans like a bunch of bums.” Airport-style metal detectors were “used at the arena again” Thursday to “scan patrons hoping to score some of the 1,000 free tickets it was giving away for a boxing card” on Saturday. Arena officials last Sunday “vowed to drop their controversial use of the walk-through detectors ‘for the foreseeable future.’” But Calder writes the “foreseeable future” turned out to be “five days.” Arena spokesperson Joe DePlasco said the two detectors “are being transitioned out by the end of the week.” Last night, the remaining two were “finally removed” in time for a Nets’ exhibition game (N.Y. POST, 10/19).
MONEY PIT? In Charlotte, Steve Harrison in a front-page piece notes the “taxpayer-supported Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority no longer reports detailed monthly financial statements" for the NASCAR HOF and other city-owned buildings. That makes it “difficult to know whether the Charlotte Convention Center or the NASCAR Hall of Fame is making or losing money” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/19).