Miller named as major gate sponsor

Miller Brewing Co. and Green Bay Packers officially announced a 10-year agreement today that names Miller as a major gate sponsor of the new Titletown atrium. As part of the deal, Miller will serve as the official beer sponsor of the Packers.<p>

The new agreement will provide Miller Brewing with the rights to use trademarks and logos of the Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field and Titletown. The total dollar amount of the deal was not revealed.

"We are delighted that our relationship with Miller Brewing has been enhanced and extended," said Packers president Bob Harlan. "Miller is a first-class organization and it is a pleasure doing business with them. This relationship will benefit both of us, as well as our fans and customers.

When the $295 million renovation is completed, Lambeau Field will have a total of five gate sponsors. Two sponsors will be on the east side of the stadium and two on the west side, in addition to Miller as the sponsor of the five-story Titletown atrium. The atrium is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2003 season, though, the Packers Pro Shop is expected to open on the first floor of the atrium in early August.

The Packers and Miller had been working on the deal since the 2000 season. John Bowlin, president and CEO of Miller, said naming rights were never an issue during negotiations, nor would he recommend it.

"You have a wonderful history here at Lambeau Field that rivals Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field," said Bowlin. "I would strongly recommend that no one lets anyone interfere (with the name)."

Said Harlan, "I've felt that if we were going to fight to save this stadium, we should also save the name."

Harlan said that he has not had any inquiries from any corporations to date regarding naming rights. The Packers and the City of Green Bay entered an agreement last year that requires a company to enter a minimum of a $120 million, 20-year agreement for naming rights to Lambeau Field. "We''re going to be very strict about where those numbers are," Harlan said.

Craig Benzel, the Packers marketing director, said that additional gate sponsors will be named in "upcoming months."

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