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FleetCenter auctions off single-day naming rights any takers?

Thursday February 10, 2005

BOSTON (AP) Ever want the Boston Celtics to play on your basketball court? How about host your very own rock concert for 20,000 fans?

 

Well, now you can sort of.

 

The owner of the formerly named FleetCenter is offering the arena's naming rights on a day-to-day basis to the highest bidder of an online auction until a new corporate sponsor can be found.

 

More than a dozen auctions for dates starting with Feb. 16 began Thursday on eBay. People can also place bids on the FleetCenter Web site.

 

Marketing specialists have estimated the value of FleetCenter's naming rights at more than $4 million a year, or nearly $11,000 per day.

 

Proceeds from the deals will go to a charity supported by the arena's owner, Delaware North Cos.

 

The FleetCenter name became obsolete when Bank of America acquired FleetBoston Financial Corp. for $48 billion last year, and the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank agreed to give up the arena naming rights as part of the deal. Delaware North has been identifying possible corporate candidates for a long-term deal.

 

The home of the Celtics and the NHL's Boston Bruins could carry the names of the bidder, a loved one or a business.

 

Richard Krezwick, president and chief executive of Delaware North, offered his own suggestion: The Rollie Krezwick Center, in honor of the executive's dog, a wheaten terrier.

 

``He's a big sports fan,'' Krezwick said. ``He watches hockey religiously.''

 

Bidders will not be required to include ``Center'' in the building name, and the arena will approve all names provided they're ``rated G,'' Krezwick said.

 

Winning bidders won't get to change the arena's large exterior signs, but will be able to see their chosen names on the arena's Web site, its Jumbotron video screen, and a message for callers to the automated phone system, which will say ``Thank you for calling the 'YourCenter.'

 

They also will get four luxury seat tickets to the day's game or show, a framed photo collage and a certificate, and a ``special surprise gift package.''

 

An assortment of sports enthusiasts and publicity hounds are already latching onto the idea.

 

FleetCenter executives have been negotiating with a handful of sponsors to buy single-day deals before the first auction winner's date. Local Fox television station WXFT station and a Chicago-based sports marketing publication are among the initial potential sponsors.

 

Dan Migala, the publisher of a sports publication the Migala Report, will pay $500 to rename the building the MigalaReportCenter.

 

``We just bought naming rights for a stadium,'' Migala boasted. ``We're big time now.''

 

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On the Web: www.fleetcenter.com.

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