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DQ to help fund TCF stadium

Edina-based fast-food chain Dairy Queen served up a $2.5 million sponsorship agreement Tuesday.

Dairy Queen became the latest contributor to fundraising efforts for TCF Bank Stadium when University officials announced its $2.5 million sponsorship agreement Tuesday.

The agreement gives the Edina-based ice cream vendor naming rights to the stadium’s clubroom, scoreboard advertising, a suite at the stadium and other benefits.

“Dairy Queen is just a very, very special organization,” Gopher football head coach Tim Brewster said. “I think about apple pie, lemonade, Dairy Queen; is there anything more American than Dairy Queen?”

An additional $250,000 donation to the Carlson School of Management from Dairy Queen was included in the deal, University alumnus Chuck Mooty, president and CEO of International Dairy Queen, Inc., said.

Apart from advertising and naming rights to the clubroom, Dairy Queen will also have the opportunity to sell its products at TCF Bank Stadium, officials said.

But Mooty said the sponsorship was largely about giving back to the community.

“We’re very excited; it’s a way for us to give back to the community,” he said. “We’re not going to create any economic gain out of it, to the degree of a business situation; it’s more of how we can be a good steward.”

The deal comes nearly a month after the athletics department received a record-setting $10 million gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, earmarked for the stadium project.

As with the previous gift, the sponsorship was praised as a “win-win” and another step forward for stadium fundraising by athletics director Joel Maturi.

Prior to the community’s donation, Maturi said fundraising had slowed, but now he said he is confident the $86 million goal will be reached.

Between the SMSC’s gift and the Dairy Queen sponsorship, the University now has $12.5 million of its private gifts and sponsorships goal to allocate.

The deal with Dairy Queen had been in the works for nearly a year, officials said.

Maturi said there are other donations and sponsorships coming up, but not of the same level.

Athletics officials are currently in phase two of fundraising efforts, which seeks gifts in excess of $100,000. Phase three, a grassroots, lower-level effort, will begin in the spring, Maturi said.

The final phase of fundraising will target all counties in Minnesota – a move officials said will drive public interest and involvement in the project.

“The whole philosophy is you don’t ask someone for $100 if they can give $1,000,” Maturi said. “That’s the mentality – let alone asking for $100,000 if they can give $1 million.”

TCF Bank Stadium is set to open Sept. 12, 2009.

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