Arena donor search continues

Jessica Sasseen

Western is looking for a new color to complete Diddle Arena this spring — green.

The traditional red and white will remain while the search for four cornerstone partners to donate much cash continues.

Potential donors can buy the naming rights to one quarter of the arena. In turn, they will receive perks like advertising space, one night in one of the arena’s luxury suites and basketball tickets.

Athletics Director Wood Selig said he wants sponsors to sign contracts for at least five years.

Buyers will be able to decorate and market their cornerstone to fit the needs of their company. This will provide partners the opportunity to sell merchandise and create interactive booths in high traffic areas of Diddle Arena. For example, if a bank bought a cornerstone, they could install their institution’s automated teller machine.

Also, the company’s logo will be displayed on the glass doors for fans to see when they enter each gate.

Each partner would have one advertising panel above each of the jumbo screens inside the arena. Before all replays in a game, there will be a sponsor logo displayed, rotating between the four cornerstone partners.

Partners have the option of sponsoring half-time promotions for Hilltopper and Lady Topper games, and possibly advertising on ticket stubs.

There will be links from the Athletic department Web site to the Web site of cornerstone partners.

Partners will get to use a luxury suite for one men’s and women’s basketball game. They’ll also get 100 tickets for one men’s and women’s basketball game.

Also, partners will get free use of Diddle for one special event.

Each year, the cornerstone partners will also have access to tickets to the NCAA Basketball Tournament’s Final Four games.

“We have the concept that we know is a winning concept,” Selig said. “But we needed the facility to catch up to the idea.”

Tom Hiles, vice president for Institutional Advancement, said corporations, rather than individuals, are showing interest in the proposed partnerships.

“I think you see all the components coming together with the sky boxes,” Hiles said. “Even though we’ve had some setbacks, everyone feels very confident. There is a lot of positive momentum.”

Selig said being a cornerstone partner is the premiere corporate marketing and sponsorship package offered by Western athletics. He said the cornerstone partners will be an exclusive group of companies with a shared vision for Diddle and Western athletics.

The first company to sign on will get to choose which entrance they want. Students and general admission ticket buyers will continue entering through separate gates, creating a more specific target group. Selig hopes one day marketing information can be collected through these separate entrances.

The price for cornerstone partnership is still under negotiation. Selig said they would like to have the entrances sold by September.

Reach Jessica Sasseen at [email protected]