Charleston Naming Rights Deal

A 10-year sponsorship agreement between West Virginia’s Charleston Civic Center Coliseum and the West Virginia Coal Association’s “Friends of Coal” has one environmentalist criticizing the deal as inappropriate.

At issue is the “Friends of Coal” logo featured on the new basketball floor of the 13,500-capacity, city-owned arena.

Denise Giardina, an opponent of mountaintop removal mining, claims the image is political and out of line at the venue.

“How would people feel if the Democratic Party painted Democratic logos all over the court and Republicans had to sit there and look at that?” Giardina said.

West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney said the company’s sponsorship is to support the community where it does business.

The WVCA already sponsors the annual “Friends of Coal Bowl” football game between Marshall and West Virginia universities.

WVCA will pay the city $232,000 over the 10-year arrangement.