Category: Money Pit

Dreamstyle Believed WisePies Deal was Dead

By Daniel Libit

Dreamstyle Remodeling owner Larry Chavez said it’s his understanding that the WisePies deal “wasn’t going to continue” by the time he stepped in to purchase The Pit’s naming rights.

In an interview with NMFishbowl.com this week, Chavez detailed a timeline of the process that challenges the public accounts UNM and WisePies Pizza & Salads have claimed about the transition of the basketball arena’s titling. Additionally, Chavez helped clarify why his company’s naming-rights deal was run through Learfield Communications, the university’s marketing and broadcast rights partner, as opposed to the UNM Foundation, the steward of the WisePies “gift agreement.” Continue reading “Dreamstyle Believed WisePies Deal was Dead”

Here Lies WisePies: “Less is More”

By Daniel Libit

It was always only a matter of time.

Even before The Pit was renamed WisePies Arena, in December 2014, those negotiating the naming-rights deal on behalf of the University of New Mexico and UNM Foundation assumed it would never reach maturity. Continue reading “Here Lies WisePies: “Less is More””

ICS: The Other Side of WisePies

By Daniel Libit

In December 2014, The “World Famous” Pit was infamously rechristened WisePies Arena. But it might have been more appropriately named for Integrated Control Systems — after all, that’s the real meal ticket for WisePies owner Steve Chavez.

To have a fuller understanding of the ties that bind Chavez to the New Mexico Lobos, one must be familiarized with Integrated Control Systems, Inc., an electric works company that installs and maintains environmental, lighting and security infrastructure.

One of ICS’s major clients just happens to be the University of New Mexico. Continue reading “ICS: The Other Side of WisePies”

WisePies Arena, with a topping of politics

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”

Did UNM Ever Really Believe in WisePies?

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?”