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July 12, 2007

An opportunity wasted


So, here it is. The new logo for TCF Bank Stadium. Before I get into it, let me just say I have nothing against TCF Bank. I'm sure they are nice people.

However, the U wasted a great opportunity here to get corporate sponsorship and satisfy those who want the stadium name to fit better with the history of the institution. I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again (because I thought the idea was great) but the stadium should have been named:

Pillsbury Stadium

Think about it. There is already a Pillsbury Hall on campus. There is a statue of John S. Pillsbury, former governor of Minnesota and great University supporter, across from Burton Hall. The Pillsbury Company helped build Minneapolis and Minnesota and are now a part of their once arch-rival General Mills.

This is what the logo should have been (or something a little better, but you get the idea):


Of course, this assumes that General Mills would want to buy the naming rights. But did the University even try to persuade them? I hope so, but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't. And that is an opportunity lost in my opinion.

Posted by snackeru at July 12, 2007 10:24 AM


I'm not even a Gopher fan, but I sure hope they don't actually use that logo on the stadium itself. It's fine for letterheads, cocktail napkins, those plastic cups of coke that you can take home with you, etc. However, putting it on the stadium itself will severely cheapen the architecture.

It looks eerily similar to Wisconsin's Camp Randall logo they trotted out after their renovation. I wouldn't be surprised if the same firm did them both.

Posted by: Alex at July 12, 2007 1:07 PM

Great comment Shane!

I think the U of M should have received a heck of a lot more for the sponsorship. For what TCF is getting, $21MM is cheap. The $50MM to $100MM range seems more in line with what the univesity should get.

Posted by: Erik H. at July 12, 2007 4:14 PM

They can try to call it whatever they want, I'm still going to call it Gopher Stadium... I hope everyone does the same.

Posted by: DouglasG at July 13, 2007 9:25 AM


$50 million is a bit steep. University of Phoenix paid $66 over 30 years for the Arizona Cardinals' new digs. You're not going to get nearly that much for a non-NFL venue in a smaller media market.

If you have a wealthy benefactor, you can expect a big donation. TCF's contribution is a naming rights deal, not a donation. They're not going to pay more, because it wouldn't be worth it for them.

Posted by: Alex at July 13, 2007 9:45 AM

Invoking comparisons to the Cardinals (the Cardinals!!!) is a waste of time. That moribund franchise is probably on equal footing with a middle-of-the-pack Big 10 team. :)

Anyway, I don't think that Pilsbury would have been as eager as TCF due to the nature of the deal. My understanding is that the TCF deal does not involve only the naming rights, but also involves things like being the sole banking provider on campus, and directing newly-arrived students to TCF when looking to open a checking account. I could be wrong, but if that is the case it's hard to see how Pilsbury could have leveraged similar advantages out of a deal.

Posted by: The Tube at July 13, 2007 9:53 AM

That's another thing. Remember T. Denny Sanford? Didn't he want to give the U $35 million for the stadium, and the U said no since he wanted naming rights? Then TCF comes around with $21 million, gets the naming rights, and also all these other incentives. Am I missing something?

Posted by: Shane at July 13, 2007 9:58 AM

Maybe Sanford wanted them for a longer term or, even, indefinitely. Any idea how long TCF has it?

Posted by: The Tube at July 13, 2007 12:38 PM

I'm guessing that the U may have had discussions with Mr. Sanford, and he may have set forth conditions that the U could not abide by. Let us not forget that Ralph Englestad has left the University of North Dakota over a barrel for the forseeable future because of the strings he demanded on his donations.

That is not to compare one to the other, but more to consider the possibility that the U took a look and realized that a corporate partner can be leveraged, whereas a lone wealthy benefactor can simply play hardball, and has little to lose.

I agree that the logo looks pretty generic, corporate, and dull. It's a shame, but then maybe they are trying to retain a little of that Metrodome flavor, no?

Posted by: CJ at July 13, 2007 2:20 PM

If the corporate sponsor is generic and dull, I suppose any logo bearing its likeness is bound to be as well. As you suggest CJ, it will make the transition from the Dome a bit less sudden. ;)

Posted by: The Tube at July 13, 2007 3:31 PM

TCF isn't the sole banker on campus, actually (as of May, I haven't been on campus since I graduated). US Bank has a branch in Coffman. But TCF does have an exclusive deal with the U over U-card accounts. I don't bank there, so I'm not positive what the deal is though.

Posted by: liesel at July 13, 2007 4:08 PM

Not to go all Mike Opat on everyone but there is some misinformation in the comments above. First and foremost is that the TCF sponsorship amount is $35M, not $21M.

While it's true that TCF got some other deals regarding banking and directing new students to TCF, that relationship existed prior to the stadium deal. It may have been extended beyond the original agreement with the football stadium but it's not something new. Also it applies not only to new students but faculty and staff too. Literally your staff (or student) i.d. also functions as an ATM card if you want to activitate it as such. It is wholly voluntary and not required, however that you bank with TCF.

While exactly not up to date, here is the link to the football stadium page:


Posted by: Freealonzo at July 13, 2007 4:15 PM

Every once in a while the top banner is the old version of Optimus Prime, and it just puts a smile on my face.

Posted by: Drake33 at July 13, 2007 8:05 PM

If the logo is all we have to bitch about, I think the U must be doing something right.

Posted by: kevin in az at July 14, 2007 1:17 PM

I have to say, all the sketches i've seen of the Gopher Stadium... there is really little to be upset about, they are building a wonderful college stadium. It evokes Memorial Stadium, feels like a Big Ten stadium, and it's back on campus. Really, short of making it look like the Weisman, or plunking down the Alerus Center (from Grand Forks) you really couldn't go wrong here.

Posted by: CJ at July 16, 2007 10:18 AM

Gopher stadium is going to be awesome, I cant wait.

Posted by: Minneapolis home mortgage at March 20, 2009 10:40 PM

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