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UT Seeking Naming Rights For Frank Erwin Center

Host Communications, a University of Texas at Austin marketing partner, and naming rights specialist Team Services LLC, have formed a joint venture to sell the naming rights for the 16,000-capacity arena at UT's Frank Erwin Center.

University officials want to keep Frank Erwin's name a part of the center. The plan is to sell the name of the arena and keep Erwin's name for the larger complex, which includes the arena and the nearly completed basketball practice facility. Erwin was a member of the school's Board of Regents and a key player in UT's campus expansion.

The center is undergoing a $55 million renovation/expansion that is expected to be completed by November.

Last month, Team Services secured M&T Bank as the new naming rights sponsor for the Baltimore Ravens' stadium. M&T will pay $75 million over 15 years (CelebrityAccess, May 15).

Host Communications founder and CEO Jim Host, long credited with pioneering the business of college sports marketing when he launched the NCAA's corporate partner program in 1985, thinks corporate naming rights will be the next significant revenue generator for athletic departments.

"The two companies working together will be dynamite," says Host Communications founder Jim Host, who is credited with pioneering the business of college sports marketing, in the Austin Business Journal. "What Team Services brings to the table is a very clear, focused expertise on naming rights, and what we bring is as extensive a knowledge of the college marketplace as any."