What's in a name?

Posted at: 07/10/2013 9:45 PM
By: J.P. Murrieta, KOB Eyewitness Sports 4

For the past couple years, the University of New Mexico has been trying to sell the naming rights to the Pit.  Recently, UNM Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs said the school has "struggled mightily" trying to find someone interested.  His comments opened up the door for debate. 

Should they rename the Pit?  The school will tell you "Yes".  UNM is looking for a $10 million naming gift from a company or family.  Without a naming rights deal, Krebs said the school will continue to struggle to sustain the $3 million annual cost from The Pit's remodeling job.  The fans will tell you "No."  The iconic arena has been, and always will be, known as The Pit.

There are two reasons why they haven't been able to sell the naming rights yet.

1) the pricetag is too high

2) any potential company doesn't feel like they can get the bang for their buck

If you were a company, or family, thinking of making a donation to the UNM coffers for the naming rights, do you think everyone would start calling The Pit by your corporate name?  Doubtful.

Fans have come to know the famous arena as The Pit for decades now.  It's tough to change that pattern.  Schools around the country have changed their basketball arena names for the almighty dollar (see Arizona State, Fresno State, Colorado, Maryland, Texas Tech, etc.  The list goes on and on).  But those arenas weren't listed in Sports Illustrated as one of the top sporting venues in the country.

Putting a corporate name on a college venue has become a part of the current economic climate of college sports.  I get it.  Universities are looking to corporations to help generate revenue.  However, in this instance I think UNM will have to look elsewhere.

And that, for the school, is The Pits.