By Daniel Libit
WisePies Pizza & Salad CEO Steve Chavez doesn’t just care about custom-ordered pies and Lobo hoops. He has broader interests as well.
During the 2016 election cycle, according to records posted by the Secretary of State’s office, Chavez made $37,750 in state-wide political contributions, a very hefty sum. Indeed, a heftier sum than the penalty WisePies would have to pay if it ever bailed on its naming-rights deal with The Pit. (But that’s another matter.) Continue reading “WisePies Arena, with a topping of politics”
Editor’s Note: Welcome to NMFishbowl.com, an independent website dedicated to providing a circumspect look at the University of New Mexico and its athletics department.
By Daniel Libit
On Dec. 1, 2014, the University of New Mexico held a press conference on the floor of The Pit to proudly announce the “largest cash gift in the history of New Mexico athletics.”
WisePies Pizza & Salads, an Albuquerque restaurant company few had heard of, would now hold the naming rights to University Arena, the Lobos’ most lucrative sponsorship asset.
Anticipating some raised eyebrows in the community, UNM officials acknowledged their difficulties in trying to secure a naming-rights partner for The Pit, four years after the completion of its $60 million renovation. Still, they insisted that the $5 million, 10-year agreement with WisePies was rock solid — even though the company was unrecognized and unproven, and the “gift” agreement was almost entirely unenforceable.
“It could not be a better marriage for all of us,” beamed UNM Athletics Director Paul Krebs.
But internal documents and emails obtained by NMFishbowl.com paint a much less optimistic picture about UNM’s trip to the altar. Indeed, they beg the question as to whether the school ever thought it would receive most of the $5 million pledged by WisePies. Continue reading “Did UNM Ever Really Believe in WisePies?”