GRAND RAPIDS — Although Grand Rapids Rampage owner Dan DeVos didn’t reveal how much the deal was worth, he did say the sponsorship agreement that his Arena Football League franchise signed with Centennial Wireless was one of the largest and most significant in team history.
“It’s a company that fits with the Rampage very well,” said DeVos, CEO of DP Fox Ventures LLC, the parent firm of the Rampage.
Centennial Wireless Midwest Region Vice President Matt Karst said the sponsorship his wireless provider signed with the Rampage would underline the bustling approach the 13-year-old company will take to doing business in the market.
“We’re not going to be a corporate sponsor that puts its name on the field and walks away,” said Karst.
Both made their comments last week at a press conference held on the new “Centennial Wireless Field at Van Andel Arena,” the official name for the Rampage home turf that made its debut at last Saturday’s season-ending game. Next season’s home opener will get a new name, too, and be known as the “Centennial Wireless Kickoff Classic,” also part of the three-year deal between the firms that runs through 2008.
“Centennial Wireless has so many similarities to the Rampage,” said Karst.
Karst pointed out the Rampage is the smallest franchise in the AFL and plays against much bigger markets, and Centennial is a small wireless telecom company that also goes up against much bigger competitors.
Centennial Wireless entered the metro market last week with the opening of five retail outlets. The independent company is based in Wall, N.J., and is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol CYCL. Centennial reports it has 1.1 million wireless subscribers in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
“It’s a company that fits with the Rampage very well,” said DeVos, who owns the AFL franchise with his wife Pamella and co-owns the Grand Rapids Griffins with Pamella and David Van Andel.
DeVos said the franchise is committed to staying here, and added that the corporate sponsorships were healthy this year and that this season’s attendance is expected to top last year’s.
Then DeVos said, while he pointed to the large 2001 Arena Bowl ring that covered a portion of his right hand, that he is focused on winning another AFL championship.
“There are so many good things going on here. The key is progress. We have made progress in many areas,” said DeVos. “But we’re not there yet. We have a ways to go.”