Greensboro Coliseum director would like to sell naming rights

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Raleigh's sponsored arena got a new name this week, and Charlotte also has a sponsored coliseum. But why not Greensboro?

Matt Brown, managing director of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, said it's not because of a lack of trying. He said he's talked with a number of companies about putting their name on the coliseum since 1995.

"There's probably not a month or two that goes by where an idea goes off in my mind, and we try a new proposal to excite some kind of interest," Brown said.

A name sponsorship could mean the city wouldn't have to use taxpayer money for coliseum expenses. The coliseum has operated at a loss every year since its opening in 1950 except for one--1999.

Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins said he thinks council would support a deal--if they could get one.

"We're trying to keep taxes down, and we've got all kinds of things that we're having to cut. So if we have an opportunity like that, we're going to take a hard look at it," Perkins said.

Brown said he has nothing in the works now, but he'll keep trying. Brown said it's not necessarily a matter of the coliseum's brand, which is strong with its years of hosting the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Instead, it's a matter of what companies are willing to spend in this economy, Brown said.

"They're not easy. There are not a lot of people out there writing those checks," Brown said.

Another thing that hurts the coliseum, Brown said, is the lack of a professional sports team playing there. The newly named PNC Arena in Raleigh is home the Carolina Hurricanes, while Time Warner Cable Arena is home to the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Greensboro Grasshoppers have a corporate sponsor on its ballpark--NewBridge Bank.

Brown said his best scenario is to find a company with a tie to the Piedmont and an affinity for ACC basketball.