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Call it the [your name here] Center

Arena lets anyone buy rights for one day, all for charity

Until he finds a corporate sponsor to pay millions of dollars in naming-rights fees, Richard Krezwick, the chief executive of the FleetCenter, knows just the name he'd like to see atop the iconic Boston arena: The Rollie Krezwick Center, named after his dog, a wheaten terrier.

''He's a big sports fan," Krezwick said. ''He watches hockey religiously."

Krezwick is likely to get his wish: FleetCenter executives plan to open an eBay auction today to allow Bostonians to bid on the right to name the home of the Bruins and the Celtics after themselves, their spouses, or even their pets or businesses for a single day.

The highest bidders won't get to change the giant FleetCenter sign overlooking the highway. But they will get an assortment of perks, including their names on the FleetCenter's website, its Jumbotron, and a message for callers to the automated phone system, which will say ''Thank you for calling the 'YourCenter.' They also will get four tickets to the day's game or show, and a framed photo collage and a certificate, and a ''special surprise gift package."

Already, the idea has generated interest from an assortment of sports enthusiasts, publicity hounds, and assorted hangers-on.

Television station Fox25 likely will rename the arena the FoxCenter on Friday, and it plans to broadcast its morning show from the floor that day, an arena spokesman said. On Sunday, the publisher of a Chicago sports marketing publication, Dan Migala, will pay $500 to rename the building the MigalaReportCenter.

''We just bought naming rights for a stadium," Migala boasted. ''We're big time now."

In his office, Migala said, he keeps a list of the cost of naming-rights deals, including Gillette Stadium. Now, he said, he plans to add the MigalaReportCenter onto the bottom so he can have his name beside them.

Next Wednesday will be the first day the arena will be renamed by an eBay bidder, but FleetCenter executives are in talks with a handful of other sponsors to buy days beforehand. Bidding starts at $25, and the proceeds from the naming-rights sale will go to charity.

Even if the FleetCenter naming rights get bid sky-high on eBay, they are still likely to be cheaper than the cost of corporate naming rights. Marketing specialists peg the value of the FleetCenter at more than $4 million a year -- or nearly $11,000 per day.

The FleetCenter is changing names after Bank of America Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., acquired Fleet for $48 billion last year. Bank of America decided to pay a fee, likely about $3 million, to get out of the naming-rights contract, rather than sign off on a new deal to call the building the Bank of America Center.

But even Bank of America executives do not sound too upset at the idea of the eBay auction to rename the building, especially since the FleetCenter plans to donate the money.

''We wish them the best of luck," Bank of America spokesman Joe Goode said.

FleetCenter executives are in the process of searching for a new corporate sponsor. . Krezwick, the chief executive, said they plan to identify 50 to 100 companies, both national and local, that might be good fits.

They are betting that the eBay naming-rights auction will keep the building in the news. The auction will last until the FleetCenter gets a new corporate sponsor, or as long as fans remain interested, executives said.

Bidders will not be required to leave ''Center" in the building name, executives said. The arena will approve all names as long as they're ''rated G," Krezwick said.

''The soon-to-be-renamed venue will offer a world-class company a unique opportunity to build strong brand awareness and enhance their business objectives through innovative marketing and community initiatives," FleetCenter executives said in a press release.

Aspiring bidders can log onto the FleetCenter's website,, or eBay.

A growing number of teams are using eBay auctions to draw attention to themselves and connect with fans, said William Chipps, senior editor of IEG Sponsorship Report, a Chicago newsletter that tracks corporate sponsorships.

The Schaumburg Flyers, an Illinois baseball team, recently opened an eBay auction to let aspiring players bid on the right to play them in a game, Chipps said.

But he added, the public may get bored with such bidding.

''It's a nice publicity stunt, but if they do it numerous times, that'd get tiresome pretty quickly," he said.

Sasha Talcott can be reached at

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