Vets Oppose Arena Naming Rights

The sale of naming rights to , a move opposed by some local veterans, would only apply to the arena and not the entire Fort Wayne, Ind., complex, Coliseum GM Randy Brown says.

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Officials have sought a sponsor to buy the naming rights for several years, but veterans like Michael Flenner, the commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1421, have voiced concern a naming-rights deal would diminish honor paid to service members.

“The complex is the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum,” Brown told the Journal Gazette. “That’s our legal name and who we’ve been. The property is and will always be the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.”

The 13,000-seat arena opened in 1952 and is home to the Fort Wayne Komets hockey team and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League.

It underwent a $35 million expansion in 2002 that raised its roof to create space for 24 skyboxes and new seats that expanded its capacity for hockey fans.

“I would rather pay higher taxes and leave the War Memorial Coliseum alone,” Flenner told WPTA-TV. “We’ve got enough corporation in everything we do now. Let’s keep a little something for the veterans.”

Brown said no deal is yet in place for the arena’s naming rights. “It has to be a good fit for the missions of the two entities involved,” Brown said. “It has to be a good fit for the coliseum.”