July 23, 2016

Mostly sunny

Brunswick High football field sells rights to name

Signs outside Brunswick High’s football field will read “Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium” next year after school board members Monday approved a 16-year agreement between the school and the local car dealership.

In exchange for the naming rights, the auto dealer will donate $50,000 annually to the district for 15 years for a total of $750,000. There is no payment due for the final year of the agreement. Both the school district and dealership can cancel the agreement after 10 years.

Brunswick High Schools’s football field is getting a new name — "Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium" — in exchange for $750,000 over 15 years that will go to the school's athletic department (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

The money will be earmarked for athletic department improvements.

The agreement was approved unanimously by the four board members in attendance Monday. Board member Richard Nowak was absent.

It’s not the first time the dealership has been an advertiser at the stadium — Brunswick Auto Mart has sponsored the stadium’s scoreboard in the past.

“We’ve had the opportunity to work with this business before and it’s been positive,” Superintendent Michael Mayell said.

Gary Panteck, owner of Brunswick Auto Mart and two other dealerships in Medina County, said the agreement isn’t just a business deal.

“This is a decision you make from the heart,” he said. “So many of our customers are families with kids in the Brunswick schools. We feel honored to be able to help support the district.”

Geoff Panteck, vice president of Brunswick Auto Mart, agreed, saying working with the local schools “was a perfect fit.”

“The city and school system have been very good to us, and we decided we wanted to give back,” he said.

Brunswick athletic director Pete Demonte said the additional money is welcomed.

“This is a touchdown for the athletic department,” he said. “This is going to help us continue to support the level of participation in athletics for Brunswick students going forward.”

The Brunswick Auto Mart name will be on the stadium over the home ticket booth and on signs on Center Road pointing to the stadium entrance. The dealership logo will be featured in two spots on the stadium field between each side’s 20-yard line and the end zone.

In addition to football games, the stadium also hosts soccer, lacrosse, track and field events, marching band competitions and other community events.

The stadium recently hosted the Ohio Music Education Association State Marching Band Competition and is considered a primary host stadium for Ohio High School Athletic Association regional football playoffs.

The Division II, Region 4 championship game between Highland and Avon will be 7:30 p.m. Friday at the stadium, which seats about 9,500 fans.

Other terms in the agreement prohibit the school from allowing advertising at the stadium from competing car dealerships or manufacturers.

Mayell said the district will use the money to make major improvements to the athletic facilities used by the middle schools.

“It is going to be earmarked for facility improvements,” Mayell said.

Selling naming rights for stadiums has been popular in professional sports and at some college campuses.

Now the idea is spreading to high schools. In 2010, North Royalton sold the naming rights to its stadium to Serpentini Chevrolet for $100,000.

“I think this is starting to become a trend for high school stadiums,” Mayell said.

He said it’s best when the business sponsor is local, like Brunswick Auto Mart.

“To be frank with you, this is where I’m going to buy my next car,” he said.

School board President Thomas Neumann agreed that the deal was a win-win for Brunswick Auto Mart and the school district.

The district failed to get enough votes to pass a two-year, 4.9-mill levy earlier this month that would avoid the district going into the red by the end of the 2014-15 school year.

“This is good for the community because it helps to defray costs,” Neumann said. “It’s great to have a strong business community that wants to work hand in hand with the city.”

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.