The name is Dreamstyle Arena.
But there is no mistaking that it is still the Pit.
Larry Chavez, CEO of Dreamstyle Remodeling who owns the naming rights to the iconic 51-year-old University of New Mexico basketball arena and the UNM’s football stadium, unveiled Thursday the design concept he will implement for signage inside and outside the arena and stadium.
Signage for Dreamstyle Stadium should be installed by Aug. 1 and for Dreamstyle Arena by Sept. 1, including interior signage, Chavez said. At that time, the old “WisePies Arena aka The Pit” signage will be removed.
After several weeks of fan input on the design concepts, Chavez chose to go with signage that utilizes not only his company’s logo — he is, after all, paying $10 million to UNM over the next 10 years, $9 million of which goes to athletics — as well as a very distinct black shield with “The Pit” in large cherry letters and “Est. 1966” in smaller, silver lettering underneath.
“While we were inviting input, we didn’t necessarily anticipate going with the majority vote for the signage,” Chavez said in a media release. “But all the feedback and justification from the community for the winning concept convinced us it was definitely the best choice.”
The concept the fans wanted most was the one Chavez and his team decided was best as well.
The shield, as opposed to several other concepts that didn’t have one, also provides for a ready made logo-type icon that can be used on additional signage, posters, social media accounts or T-shirts. In fact, in the contract Chavez signed with Learfield Sports, on behalf of UNM, for the naming rights, there is a clause that stipulates logos will be put on the shirts for ushers in the Pit.
While several designs put out for public feedback included 15-foot tall, vertical monument sign concepts that received positive feedback, the final call was for a concept that includes a more horizontal monument statue to be constructed on the corner of University and Avenida Cesar Chavez that incorporates the Pit shield.
“We really liked all the concepts, so it was a great help having the community and fans help us to choose concept number one,” Chavez said. “Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and we know the signage is going to look fantastic.”
Dreamstyle and the design team at Albuquerque-based K2MD came up with six concept packages about a month ago and invited the public to provide feedback through the company’s website.
Among the community responses provided by Dreamstyle:
• “The shield has good versatility and is a strong mark.”
• “I like concept #1 the best. I appreciate that it incorporates ‘The Pit’ prominently in the design. I also like the shield-like shape of The Pit title. Its appearance is clean and timeless and has a kind of classic, academic-type elegance that will retain its appeal for years to come.”
• “Thanks for including the community in your choice.”
• “From a photographic standpoint this concept will pop with any photographs taken. The black and silver ‘Pit Shield’ is the best view and memorable.”
• “I LOVE #1. The others look too simple and too much like the directional signage on campus, so they don’t look distinct to athletics or do the building justice. Thanks for asking for input!”
• “Great job honoring the heritage and name of the pit! This will go over much better in the community.”
• “I’m an UNM alum who was on campus when The PIT opened. All of us appreciate that you are giving us a voice in how The Pit is signed. I prefer Concept # 1.”