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Fans don’t shy from helping to name Pit

Passion for the Pit lives.

Ten days and nearly 500 suggestions after Dreamstyle Remodeling owner Larry Chavez, whose recent $10 million pledge to the University of New Mexico gave him naming rights to the school’s football stadium and basketball arena, asked the community for input on the names and signage for the two venues, he got one clear message.

Fans want to make sure “The Pit” – the nickname of UNM’s iconic basketball arena – is part of the official name of the basketball arena that houses the Lobo men’s and women’s basketball teams. Despite its popular moniker, it is an arena that, for most of the past half century officially was named University Arena and for the past two and half years was known as WisePies Arena aka The Pit.

“We’ve had a great response from the community on suggestions for the Pit signage,” Chavez told the Journal. “Based on what we have seen so far, we think the community will be delighted with the end result.”

The New Mexico native and lifelong Lobo fan pledged earlier this month to UNM $10 million – $9 million to athletics (with an estimated $1 million of that going to the department’s marketing partner Learfield Sports) and $1 million to other initiatives on the main campus – for a decade of naming rights. So far, the contract he entered into with Learfield stipulates only that the venues are known – for now – as Dreamstyle Stadium and Dreamstyle Arena.

Chavez said he wanted the community to have a say, though not necessarily saying it would be put to an actual vote. So, he set up on his company’s website (www.Dreamstyleremodeling.com) a submission form for the public before settling on the names and signage.

The submissions will be accepted through tonight, and sometime in the next week Chavez plans to have sample signage designs available for community input. The signs could be put up in the next two to three months.

Among the responses submitted, which Dreamstyle shared with the Journal, the vast majority centered upon the name of the basketball arena, almost entirely focusing on incorporating “The Pit” into the name in some fashion.

The three leading vote getters were Dreamstyle Arena at the Pit, The Pit at Dreamstyle Arena or just keeping it named The Pit.

And what else was clear was an appreciation for just being asked to be a part of the process.

“Thank you for your extraordinary gift and your enlightened willingness to gather and consider community input,” wrote one person. “The naming issue is not trivial and should be thought through thoroughly. Thanks for understanding that. Your philanthropy can, and should, be exemplary in the community if you do this right. From what I have seen so far, I have faith that you will do the right thing, that fans will respond positively, and you will continue to prosper, along with the Lobo program.”

The football suggestions clearly settled in on Dreamstyle Stadium.

Among other responses, be it for the Pit, the football stadium or just general suggestions, included:

⋄  Call the entire south campus area something like “Dreamstyle Park” or “Dreamstyle Pavilion” and then each field/arena can keep its name and incorporate that into it (i.e. the Pit at Dreamstyle Pavilion or Santa Ana Star Field at Dreamstyle Park or University Stadium at the Dreamstyle Sports Complex).

⋄  Use just “The Pit” on exterior signage and emphasize Dreamstyle’s name prominently inside the arena.

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