U.S. Cellular to end naming rights deal for downtown arena

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:16 pm

U.S. Cellular said today that it will not renew its naming rights agreement with the Wisconsin Center District for the U.S. Cellular Arena in downtown Milwaukee.

When the current agreement ends on May 31, U.S. Cellular will no longer have the naming rights to the arena.

“After careful consideration, U.S. Cellular and the Wisconsin Center District have decided to not continue the naming rights agreement to the building,” the company said in a statement. “We have enjoyed working with WCD, and we wish them success in the future. Even though this deal is coming to an end, U.S. Cellular remains committed to Wisconsin and will continue to invest in the Milwaukee community.”

“We’ve had a real good partnership with U.S. Cellular,” said Jeffrey Sinkovec, director of finance for the Wisconsin Center District. “They decided they want to go in a different direction.”

The Wisconsin Center District is making inquires to gauge interest from other potential naming rights sponsors for the building, Sinkovec said.

Despite the end of the naming rights deal with U.S. Cellular, the Wisconsin Center District still plans to move forward with a $3 million project to replace the arena’s seats and scoreboard, he said.

The U.S. Cellular Arena was built in 1950 and was known as the Milwaukee Arena and later the MECCA Arena. It was the home of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Marquette University men’s basketball team until the Bradley Center was built in 1988.

In recent years the arena has been the home of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men’s basketball team, the Milwaukee Wave, and other events opting for a smaller, lower-cost alternative to the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

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