Target extends long-running commitment to Timberwolves arena

Discount retail chain Target has extended its naming rights partnership for the home arena of NBA basketball franchise the Minnesota Timberwolves, with a revised timeline being drawn up for renovation of the 19,000-capacity venue.

The updated schedule was announced yesterday (Tuesday) on the 25th anniversary of Target Center’s grand opening.

As well as outlining the plans for the arena’s redevelopment, Timberwolves officials confirmed a long-term extension of the naming rights contract between the venue and Target. Although terms of the fresh contract were not disclosed, the extension marks the continuation of the longest running naming rights deal in American professional sport.

Target’s general manager Steve Mattson said: “It is very unique for an arena to celebrate 25 years. Typically at this age, it is more common to rebuild. By renovating instead of replacing, we are preserving the history and the legacy of the different acts, shows and teams that have played here and the lifelong memories that have been created at Target Center.”

It was initially hoped the new-look arena would be completed by next year, but the revised timeline has forecast construction to conclude in the summer of 2017. The redevelopment plans have been categorised into three phases.

Phase One, which covers the summer of 2016, includes the construction of a new scoreboard inside the Target Center and acoustic improvements. Phase Two covers autumn 2016 to spring 2017 and will see exterior work begin. The schedule concludes with Phase Three in the summer of 2017, when locker rooms, dressing rooms, public restrooms and a new lobby will be built. The final phase will also include concourse and food and drink facility improvements.
Target Center will be open for the first two phases of the redevelopment but will close during the summer of 2017. The $129m (€114.9m) renovation aims to secure the future of Target Center for another 20 years.

The venue is also the home arena of women’s WNBA franchise the Minnesota Lynx, whose 2017 schedule will be interrupted by the new plans. It has not yet been confirmed where the Lynx will play its home games during this time.