Sioux band's gift sets new standard in naming rights
Another large donation toward the construction of a sports stadium, huh? OK, what do the donors want this time? What are they looking to sell, market or promote?...
Another large donation toward the construction of a sports stadium, huh? OK, what do the donors want this time? What are they looking to sell, market or promote?
When it comes to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and its $10 million donation for the University of Minnesota Gophers' new $288 million football stadium, the answer that springs immediately to mind is the band's Mystic Lake Casino. The band does receive, after all, in exchange for its gift, the naming and landscaping rights for the main plaza at the 50,000-seat Minneapolis sports facility.
Not so fast. In an announcement as inspiring as it was an example for others to follow, tribal Chairman Stanley Crooks told reporters last week the casino's name wouldn't be featured anywhere in the plaza. Instead, the naming rights would be used to honor Minnesota's Indian bands.
The plaza will be known as " 'The Dakota Mall,' or something like that," Crooks said. "This was an opportunity to make a significant impact on something that will be around for a long time."
Anyone doubting the band's desire to make a significant impact could consider another, less-publicized gift it made last week to the university: $2.5 million, to be matched by the university, for a scholarship fund at the school.
Such generosity isn't anything new for the Shakopee band, one of Minnesota's largest philanthropic organizations and possibly the largest charitable donor among American Indian bands in the country. This year alone the band is expected to give away almost $21 million. The bigheartedness is made possible by the success of its gambling operations, specifically its Mystic Lake Casino, which generates, according to estimates, between $600 million and $1 billion a year for the band.
Not that anyone will ever hear or read anything about that while enjoying a Gophers football game. Three cheers for all.