Best Buy gives stadium $2.5M

The sponsorship deal rests on the Legislature passing the on-campus stadium bill by Feb. 15.

by Matt Graham

The University moved closer to its goal of raising 60 percent of the money for a proposed on-campus football stadium Wednesday after agreeing to a $2.5 million sponsorship deal with Best Buy.

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said the University approached Best Buy months ago during its initial search for sponsorships, but that this deal had been in the works for two weeks.

The deal is contingent upon the Legislature passing a bill to fund 40 percent of the $235 million stadium by Feb. 15.

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, encouraged Gov. Tim Pawlenty to call for a special session to discuss stadium issues at a news conference Tuesday.

He said ideally a special session would occur days before Thanksgiving, forcing legislators to make decisions.

University officials, alumni and students delivered a petition with more than 3,000 signatures to Pawlenty’s office Tuesday, asking him to call for a special session.

Best Buy spokeswoman Kelly Groehler said the nature of the sponsorship still has not been determined. The only certainty is the dollar amount, she said.

The University seeks to raise $75 million in corporate and private sponsorships to help fund the stadium.

Maturi said more than $50 million has been raised so far, with the bulk coming from a deal signed with TCF Bank in March. TCF pledged $35 million for naming rights.

The rest of the University’s estimated $141 million share of the stadium costs will be funded by $50 million in Student Services Fees, as well as money from parking and game day revenue.