Native Village Youth and Education News
February 1, 2009 Issue 194 Volume 4

Brewers, Potawatomi announce new deal

By Don Walker
Condensed by Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village Publications

                       

Wisconsin: You used to know them as the Milwaukee Brewers. Now they're Milwaukee Brewers Baseball presented by Potawatomi Bingo Casino.

In a first for the Brewers' franchise and for Wisconsin professional sports, the franchise and the casino announced a multi-year sponsor partnership that covers virtually every aspect of Brewers baseball.  It is believed the revenue coming to the Brewers is second only to the Brewers' naming rights agreement with MillerCoors. MillerCoors pays the Brewers $2,060,000 a year.

The Potawatomi name and logo will be evident everywhere: on tickets, the  Miller Park plaza light poles, an outfield wall, the dugouts, rotational signs and LED boards inside the stadium. The casino name will also be repeated endlessly on radio and television.

Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers' executive vice president of business operations, called it a historic agreement.  "We're very humbled and proud that the Potawatomi has agreed to enter into this relationship," he said."

Mike Goodrich, the casino's general manager, said the tribe and the Brewers "breathed new life into the Menomonee Valley."  Both organizations, he said, are coming off good years. The Potawatomi finished its $240,000,000  expansion, and the Brewers made the postseason for the first time in 26 years.

Several teams have agreements with gambling interests. One is the Arizona Diamondbacks which have a sponsor relationship with the Gila River Indian community. "Maybe 10 years ago, I might have a problem with this," said David Carter, head of the Sports Business Group in southern California. "It's not taboo any more." Agreements with gambling interests still have their limits. For instance, the franchise can't offer a promotion in which ticket stubs can be exchanged at casinos for free poker chips. And  players can not be directly involved in the partnership agreement.

Although the Potawatomi already had a Brewer sponsorship deal, both sides began talks last summer about a new, more involved relationship.  "This partnership takes it to a whole new level," Schlesinger said.

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