Expert questions asking price for PIT rename

the pit
the pit

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico wants to sell the naming rights to the PIT and University Stadium, but nobody’s offering to pay what the school wants. So why is the University of New Mexico having so much trouble cutting a deal, when colleges around the country are cashing in?

One expert said New Mexico just doesn’t have the corporate power-houses that other states do, and that UNM may have to lower its price. It’s the rally place for legions of Lobo fans. The PIT name has gained national recognition. Still, UNM has spent almost five years shopping the naming right.

“I think part of the thing UNM is struggling with is there just aren’t a lot of big fish locally for them to go after,” said Pat Wallwork, Media Director for McKee Wallwork & Co.

Energy companies, airlines, grocery store chains, big banks; companies like this give millions to put their names on arenas around the country. UNM hoped to get at least $10 million over 20 years, which amounts to half-a-million a year.

“I think 20 years, boy, I don’t have a client that’s going to sign a 20 year deal,” said Wallwork. “I don’t know how you sell that.”

Wallwork has negotiated multi-million dollar contracts, and seen deals like this. She believes UNM may need to lower the price tag.

“A lot of these places also want a high prestige client, they don’t want to sell it to just anybody,” Wallwork explained.

But, UNM hasn’t said who’s come to the table to negotiate, or if there’s a promising prospect for a new PIT name.

“These are complicated ventures, this isn’t a simple business deal,” Tim Cass, UNM Deputy Athletic Director told KRQE News 13 back in February.

The revenue would help pay off the $60 million renovation done four years ago.

“I wouldn’t spend that kind of money dependant on a sale that I don’t have,” said Wallwork.

While it may have been ambitious, UNM said they aren’t giving up.

“I think it’s probable, I just think they have to adjust the number they’re going to get, and the terms,” added Wallwork.

For now at least, the PIT name will stay the same.

UNM sold naming rights to the Lobos actual football field for a $100,000 year. They’re still looking for a deal to rename the stadium itself.

News 13 checked around to see what other colleges in similar-sized cities are getting for their naming rights deals. Fresno State is getting $2 million a year from a grocery store chain.

University of Louisville rakes in $1.3 million a year from a fast food chain. A lot of AAA baseball cities also collect money for putting a corporate name on their stadiums.

Fresno hauls in a cool $1 million a year from a local casino.

News 13 checked in with the City of Albuquerque. A city official said they tried to shop Isotopes park for a name a decade ago, but found no interest.

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