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UNM shops naming rights for The Pit

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — (AP) — For the right price, the University of New Mexico may be willing to put a different name on The Pit, its basketball arena.

New Mexico athletic officials say they’re hoping a company or family would be willing to buy the naming rights for the arena for an amount like $10 million or $15 million.

According to university officials, the extra cash would help New Mexico shoulder its $3 million annual burden of paying off debt on the facility’s $60 million renovation done in 2010.

Deputy Athletic Director Tim Cass said the university has had to cut costs and take money from other sources to cover that debt.

“The funding model was predicated on getting a naming gift so it has posed challenges to us to find additional resources,” Cass said.

As for the current name, officials said they understand its popularity and hope to incorporate “The Pit” in a future naming-rights deal.

“We do not want to lose the name ‘The Pit.’ We feel like it’s iconic to the building,” Cass said. “We’re certainly aware of the legacy The Pit name carries not only locally, statewide, but nationally.”

Cass said New Mexico would also be open to a naming rights deal for University Stadium, the football team’s home.

Last year the school named the new turf Branch Field because of a $1.5 million gift from the family behind the Branch Law Firm.

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