TCF banks on U stadium naming agreement

by Yelena Kibasova

Besides putting its logo on everything but Goldy’s forehead, TCF will get additional perks for signing on to the University’s stadium project.

In exchange for $35 million, the University will give TCF National Bank benefits such as 10 complimentary tickets to each away University football game for as long as 25 years, according to the naming agreement.

Mark Rotenberg, University general counsel, said arrangements like these are typical of naming agreements.

“Many businesses that support intercollegiate athletics at the ‘U’ and at other universities receive tickets to those sporting events because obviously they are interested in those sporting events or they wouldn’t be sponsoring them,” he said.

Rotenberg said the relationship with TCF provides more than $90 million of resources to the University, which includes scholarship money, among other things.

“Does the University have to promise TCF something in exchange for that?” he said. “Absolutely.”

Those promises include a 16-seat suite for all home games for TCF, paid travel expenses for four people to one away game a year and free use of Goldy Gopher for three TCF “special events” each year.

Rotenberg said TCF and the University exchanged ideas during negotiation.

“TCF wanted these things and we were prepared to grant them to TCF in exchange for the many financial (benefits) that the University is reaping from this relationship,” he said.

Finance and marketing senior Abdulaziz Al-Salim called the added perks in the deal “selling out.”

“It’s sad to see the University sell out – (it) seems there’s no dignity left,” Al-Salim said. “It deters me as a future alumnus to come back and contribute to the ‘U.’ “

Also as part of the agreement, US Bank, which has a branch in Coffman Union, might be pushed out next year.

According to the naming agreement, US Bank’s lease expires June 30 unless it agrees to extend the term.

TCF paid to have an option to take the space when US Bank leaves Coffman Union, Rotenberg said.

“We’re not breaching anything or kicking US Bank out or anything – it’s when the US Bank relationship ends,” he said. “At that point, TCF can pay for the right to come in there.”

Rotenberg said other banks are not barred from the University.

“There is no guarantee that TCF will be the only banking organization around campus,” he said. “TCF is not sponsoring the University of Minnesota; TCF is only the sponsor of our football stadium.”

Music education senior Melissa Mortensen said she banks with US Bank. TCF taking over the Coffman Union location would “probably make it harder” for her.

“Everywhere else I walk to there’s a TCF bank or ATM,” Mortensen said.

Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said the University is committed to making sure student and faculty banking needs are met.

As part of the agreement, the stadium name “TCF Bank Stadium” will be on every napkin, floor and uniform, among other items, at the stadium.

Al-Salim said he doesn’t like the corporate naming.

“(TCF Bank Stadium) is a weird name,” he said. “It doesn’t roll off the tongue.”

As far as the name goes, Mortensen is divided.

“You get used to seeing (corporate naming) in sports all the time, but at the same time it’d be nice if we could come up with a name that would be better than TCF Bank Stadium,” she said.

Other stadiums have corporate names stamped on them. University of Louisville has Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and Arizona State has Wells Fargo Arena.

Pfutzenreuter said there was no discussion of alternative names because the name is what TCF Bank is paying for.

Although TCF Bank will be the stadium’s official sponsor, other nonfinancial companies have the opportunity for sponsorship as well, Pfutzenreuter said. Companies such as Best Buy might get naming rights to locker rooms or sections of the stadium based on their contributions.

Rotenberg said all that’s left to negotiate is the implementation of the agreement when the stadium is built.

“The naming agreement is done and we’re very pleased with it,” he said.

– Jim Hammerand contributed to this report.