Oct 01, 2010 at 01:10 PM
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T-Wolves, Twins & City Officials At Odds Over Sanford Signage

The brand best positioned to take advantage of the Minnesota Twins upcoming playoff appearance may not even be a team sponsor. After a lengthy dispute involving city officials, the Twins, Timberwolves and Target Center operator, AEG, Sanford Health's 2,800 sq. foot sign on the exterior of the building is finally in production and should be ready for the Twins post-season opener next week. The massive sign overlooks and is clearly visible in Target Field's outfield.

The Minnesota Post writes:

"Apparently there's nothing that the city, the Twins or the ballpark authority can do to stop it. Although the city owns Target Center, the Timberwolves control the right to erect signs on the outside of the arena — and to collect revenue from them. "

The Wolves were awarded the right to sell the ad space on the wall earlier this year. Originally, Target Center operator AEG had denied the team's request to sell ad space on the exterior, but the Timberwolves took AEG to court and won arguing that the team-operator agreement in place gave them the right to sell the advertising rights.

The Star Tribune says Twins President Dave St. Peter always knew the ballpark "would be ambushed by a sign of this nature, either on Target Center or somewhere else." He said, "What we were most surprised by is the sheer size of the sign ... how the sign dominates the civic gathering place known as Target Plaza."

Sanford has been active in sports marketing the Post writes, most recently giving $10 million to North Dakota State University in Fargo to update the school's basketball arena. The Twins partnership, however, represents the team's entry into the Twin Cities.

Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman is less than happy about the agreement.

"The city pays $6 million a year in debt service on Target Center, we pay $1.6 million a year in operating losses, and this year we'll pay $3.5 million in capital improvements to the building. And this is how we get treated? … This is one of many things that we and the Twins agree on."

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