Syracuse remains wed to Carrier as college naming rights industry takes off

first_imgUPDATED: Oct. 10, 2017 at 3:23 p.m.One morning in February 1979, then-Syracuse University Chancellor Melvin Eggers stood at a podium in Drumlins Country Club and announced a charitable gift that would alter the course of Syracuse sports history. It was believed to be a needed donation to finance construction of the new stadium on campus, but with it came unintended consequences.“It is most gratifying,” Eggers said that day, “that the keystone for this project — a major investment in central New York and a vote of confidence in SU — comes from Carrier, a most wonderful neighbor to everyone in the community.”With those words, Eggers set in motion a $2.75 million agreement between Syracuse and Carrier Corp., then the world’s largest manufacturer of air conditioning units and heaters. It was not a naming rights deal but a one-time gift, which contributed to keeping Dome construction on time.Now, more than 38 years later, the Dome is a fixture of central New York but leaves SU with an untapped source of revenue: a naming rights deal. Last fall, Syracuse was attempting to end its deal with Carrier, according to Bloomberg. By not getting out of its current agreement, Syracuse University is missing out on about $1.5 million per year in naming rights for the Dome, according to experts.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBased on industry trends, renovations could tie into a name change as part of a wider rebranding. The university has said it will make significant upgrades to the Dome, including the installation of an air conditioning system and new roof. A timetable has not been announced.Syracuse University and Carrier Corp. did not reply to requests for comment on this story.Andy Mendes | Digital Design EditorIn the months before Eggers stood at Drumlins, Syracuse needed to raise $9 million over an 18-month period to meet the September 1980 deadline. The university was searching for a private business to make a gift, and SU could not find any bidders until Carrier’s pledge. As a courtesy, Syracuse named the facility after the firm.Members of the SU Athletic Policy Board, which influenced the university’s decision to construct the Dome, said they believe Eggers made a phone call with Carrier Corp. sometime after New York state gave SU $15 million to start the project. Then, without much conversation with colleagues, Eggers inked the agreement with Carrier Corp.“We got a hell of a deal from the state on that,” said Ronald Cavanagh, a former professor at SU and member of the Athletic Policy Board. “Why Mel turned around and did what he did with Carrier on the naming is beyond me.”Melvin Holm, former Carrier Corp. chairman, promised his gift would lessen fears that Carrier, headquartered in Syracuse and the city’s largest employer, would leave the area. Yet, in 2004, the company closed the two manufacturing plants in East Syracuse, laying off 1,200 workers and moving those operations to Asia and the South.Throughout the 2000s, as Carrier’s footprint in the region faded, there were still discussions between SU and Carrier. In 2009, SU named the field at the Dome “Ernie Davis Legends Field,” in honor of SU’s 1961 Heisman Trophy running back. While most fans interviewed by The Daily Orange said they refer to the facility as just “the Dome” or “Carrier Dome,” there had been backlash for why the facility was not named in Davis’ honor in the first place.Dr. Jake Crouthamel, the athletic director at the time, said the deal with Carrier seemed necessary. The deadline to finance the Dome was looming. Buried in chapter 7 of a Syracuse sports stadium feasibility study from April 1976 are several paragraphs detailing how the cost to build large new stadiums spiked, somewhere between $5 million and $30 million. The Dome, a first-of-its-kind venue on a college campus, cost $31 million, according to SU tax documents.Meanwhile, bond interest rates had risen while ticket prices stagnated. As a result, revenue per seat had not risen as fast as the cost of providing the seat. The problem of financing a stadium had become difficult, especially for a private university like Syracuse that gets no state or federal funding for its operations.“The donation was better than nothing and nothing was what we were dealing with,” Crouthamel said. “In retrospect from a purely financial standpoint it was not a good deal, but it was the only deal out there and that to us was sure better than nothing.”Daily Orange File PhotoA late-1970s university-wide fundraising project raised more than $35 million, which was allocated to mostly academic buildings and programs. About $6.5 million of that went toward the Dome. Why more of that $35 million wasn’t allocated is “beyond me,” Cavanagh said.Nevertheless, a $15 million sum from the state accelerated the project. The state tacked on an additional $1 million to implement additional safety design, while $6 million came from the general operating fund at SU. Carrier’s gift brought SU’s funding drive to more than two-thirds complete, at around $21 million. More important, it made meeting deadline likely.“Without that donation,” said David Kaval, a lecturer in management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, “the Carrier Dome probably wouldn’t be here.”The Dome project made naming rights deals more common for financing facilities, said Kaval, who is also the president of the Oakland Athletics and San Jose Earthquakes. He said the Dome ushered in a new era of getting stadiums completed via gifts and, over the next couple of decades, corporate sponsors.In the Atlantic Coast Conference, Louisville (Papa John’s) and Wake Forest (BB&T) are the only two schools with football naming rights deals. Nationwide, Washington, USC and Kentucky are among football programs with million-dollar deals. Pitt and Miami also play in stadiums with naming rights, but they don’t belong to the universities.With the San Jose Earthquake’s stadium, Kaval said that Avaya, a technology company and an existing partner, inquired about the possibility of a naming rights deal. One of SU’s existing partner could do the same, Kaval said. Some organizations hire a third-party firm to seek potential sponsors.“It’s like a marriage,” Kaval said. “You need to make sure you get to know the other group and be patient. There’s so much pressure to get stuff down yesterday. Both parties need to feel they get something out of it.”Experts said football stadiums can bring in lower price tags than arenas because, in part, sponsors are more willing to pay for facilities with multiple tenants. The Carrier Dome, which hosts football, basketball, lacrosse, Monster Jam and concerts, fits that bill and could be an effective sales point to companies, said Patrick Walsh, an associate professor of sport management in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.Plus, naming rights deals can represent a few percentage points of an athletic department’s revenue. Naming rights are a revenue driver and can create positive associations between brands and teams, Walsh said. That’s important because over the past decade, only about 25 FBS schools generated more revenue than they spent, according to NCAA reports.Walsh cautions against the over-commercialization of college sports. Fans may respond negatively toward what could be a more corporate feel. Schools are also reluctant to pursue corporate name tags because, if the company moves out of town or struggles to sustain itself, like Carrier, the name doesn’t have as much weight or tie in the community, Walsh said.One particular challenge with the Dome, Walsh noted, is that because it’s been under the same name for nearly four decades, it would take “a long time” for people to call it the new name.It could be logical for a Dome naming rights deal to finance any potential renovations, Walsh said. At USC, revenue from its recent naming rights deal will reportedly help offset the $270 million renovations to the stadium, which are in the early stages. In 2013, Washington’s Husky Stadium got a $282 million makeover, before the university made an agreement with Alaska Airlines. The partnership benefits Washington because its teams use the airline for discounts on sports travel, which can be costly.“For any naming rights partnership to be successful,” Walsh said, “it can’t just be simply slapping the name on the side of an arena. That’s good from an awareness perspective, but you want both parties to be more involved with each other.”Back on the muggy Saturday night of Sept. 20, 1980, the Carrier Dome opened its doors. Holm, of Carrier, walked down a carpet toward midfield, alongside Eggers and other leaders of the Dome project. Holm waved to the sold-out Dome in its debut, a football game against Miami of Ohio.“You Mr. Holm gave this project the push that got it into high gear,” read the announcer, Marty Glickman.With that, Holm received a round of applause. He walked back off the field and down a Dome tunnel, the beneficiary of relatively small gift whose effects still linger nearly 40 years later.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, a graphic element misstated Syracuse University’s gift from Carrier Corp. as an annual payout. The university received the money as a one-time gift. The Daily Orange regrets this error.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics was misnamed. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Published on October 9, 2017 at 11:55 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Former Missouri coach Gary Pinkel being treated for recurrence of cancer

first_imgHe guided Missouri to 10 bowl appearances and his 118-73 record includes the most wins by a Tigers football coach. LSU football program faces ‘ongoing inquiry’ by NCAA “You keep battling it. I’m going to battle it,” Pinkel said. “I’ve got a very positive approach to it, and I’m around a lot of good people that are helping me. There’s a lot of people out there with a lot worse cancers than Gary Pinkel has, and so prayers to all of them.”Pinkel, who also served as head coach at Toledo from 1991-2000, landed with the Tigers in 2001 and remained with the team until he retired from coaching after the 2015 season. Former Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel is being treated for the recurrence of his cancer, he revealed Sunday during an interview on SportsZone.”I’m doing good. I had to get treatment again for the first time in four years. My cancer came out of remission, and so I had treatment last month. I’m doing fine,” Pinkel told KMIZ-TV.center_img “With my type of lymphoma, you’ll never be healed. But that’s kind of why I retired when I did — I just wanted to not go back and regret working 85 hours a week, 35 weeks out of the year when I could be doing other things with my family and my eight grandkids.”Pinkel, 67, was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in May of 2015. He confirmed a year later that the cancer was in remission, but said it now requires more treatment, though he remains optimistic about tackling the disease once and for all. Related News Georgia kicks leading receiver Jeremiah Holloman off team after assault allegationlast_img read more

Winnipeg Jets’ Patrik Laine emerging as reliable playmaker

first_imgFor Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine, 2018-19 was a season to forget, as his production dipped toward the end of the year as he played through a lingering back injury. Followed by an offseason of uncertainty given his restricted-free-agent tag, Laine came out swinging to kick off 2019-20 in the way some may not have expected.The 21-year-old is known for his wicked shot, one that has defined his role as a goal-scorer and has made him comparable to the likes of Alex Ovechkin. However, this season, he’s using a different route to emerge as a playmaker. Through 28 games with Winnipeg this season, Laine has accumulated 28 points but 20 of those were assists. At his current scoring rate, he’s on pace for a career-high 80-point season (he missed the first two games toward the end of October) which would also be a 30-point increase from his lackluster showing last season.RELATED: Is Mikko Koskinen emerging as the Oilers starter?Not only that but he has hit the 20-assist mark already which was the exact number of helpers he ended with last year in 54 more games.Looking at his overall play this season, the Finnish forward has been more confident on the forecheck and has also transitioned to more of a pass-first mentality. He’s utilizing his vision and craftiness to not only make creative plays on-the-fly but also by finding his teammates on the ice and giving them the time and space they need to score. Beautiful drop pass by Laine and a sweet finish by KC! #GoJetsGo pic.twitter.com/9KjQjITEve— Daley (@Daley_17) November 3, 2019Over the last two seasons, it’s been Blake Wheeler who’s led the way in assists, all while putting up back-to-back 91-point campaigns in 2018 and 2019. However, this season, the captain is seeing his production take a bit of a toll with just seven goals and 14 assists through 30 games, putting him on pace for 57 points this season.Given that drop, it’s been Laine who has filled the gap, and it’s paying off big-time for Winnipeg. He’s one point behind Mark Scheifele for the team lead in scoring and has helped the Jets go 7-2-1 in their last two games, moving them four points out of the Central Division lead.Winnipeg next faces the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. ET.last_img read more