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2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Home-field advantage for KU

Ford CEO says Detroit arena ready for Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks' road to the Final Four drives through Ford Field, in Detroit, which will have nearly 73,000 seats open for fans looking to watch Friday night's game against Villanova. Among those planning to attend is Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., a company that reportedly paid $40 million over 20 years for naming rights. Mulally, a KU graduate who grew up in Lawrence, expects his Jayhawks to get a "very, very warm reception" in Detroit. "It's all coming together," he said.

The Kansas Jayhawks' road to the Final Four drives through Ford Field, in Detroit, which will have nearly 73,000 seats open for fans looking to watch Friday night's game against Villanova. Among those planning to attend is Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., a company that reportedly paid $40 million over 20 years for naming rights. Mulally, a KU graduate who grew up in Lawrence, expects his Jayhawks to get a "very, very warm reception" in Detroit. "It's all coming together," he said.

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Special to the Journal-World

The Kansas Jayhawks' road to the Final Four drives through Ford Field, in Detroit, which will have nearly 73,000 seats open for fans looking to watch Friday night's game against Villanova. Among those planning to attend is Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., a company that reportedly paid $40 million over 20 years for naming rights. Mulally, a KU graduate who grew up in Lawrence, expects his Jayhawks to get a "very, very warm reception" in Detroit. "It's all coming together," he said.

Good seats are still available for Friday night's KU basketball game in Detroit, to be part of what could be the largest crowd ever for an NCAA Tournament game.

So says Alan Mulally, who knows a thing or two about the venue.

"I haven't checked out the seats, but wherever you'd be inside Ford Field, they'll be great seats," Mulally said. "It's a faaaabulous facility."

Mulally, a KU graduate, is fielding plenty of inquiries this week as the Jayhawks prepare to play for a spot in the Final Four, and it's no wonder.

As president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., Mulally figures to score some pretty good tickets for the stadium that bears the company name. He and his wife, Nicki - they met as students at KU - plan to attend, along with a couple of their kids.

And with literally dozens of inquiries coming in from friends, family, co-workers and others, Mulally figures KU should be well represented for Friday night's game and, if KU is fortunate enough to win, Sunday for the Midwest regional final.

"Everybody is contacting me to get the inside scoop on the KU Jayhawks : because everybody knows my relationship with KU," said Mulally, who received aeronautical and astronautical engineering degrees on Mount Oread and serves on the School of Engineering Advisory Board. "They all want to know what a Jayhawk is, and they all know how good these guys really are, so it's going to be a lot of fun."

Mulally clearly is enjoying the opportunity to talk up his two teams: KU's players and Ford's nearly 250,000 employees.

"What I like about them, about the Jayhawks, is the individual talent they have, but especially the way they play together as a team," Mulally said. "And you relate that to Ford, and we probably have the finest family of vehicles in the United States today. : So I'd say there's a lot of parallel: High performance, individual talent, tremendous teamwork, working together to deliver results."

Mulally knows he won't be able to deliver on all the ticket requests he's receiving - even in a stadium that opened the week with more than 17,000 of its 72,818 seats still available.

"I'm not on that side of the operation," he said. "This is completely between the NCAA and Ford Field. I'm just happy to have our name on the outside of the building and getting a chance to welcome everybody."

Comments

Ryan Gerstner 11 years, 3 months ago

Who cares? I'm glad the Ford CEO is a Jayhawk!

Lance Hobson 11 years, 3 months ago

Since we're talking fluff, am I the only one who is ABSOLUTELY SICK of that annoying VW commercial with the car horn blaring?? Why would CBS put such eardrum breaking commercial on? What happened to the fun March Madness commercials we used to see?

Bad adverstising gone worse. I have to mute it every time.

cklarock 11 years, 3 months ago

Fagan. I can't believe you let him ham-handedly shill his product in an article ostensibly about basketball.

Worst. Fluff. Piece. Evar.

Mike Young 11 years, 3 months ago

I can't imagine watching a basketball game in a football stadium. I guess the fans will be watching most of it on the jumbotron.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 3 months ago

Go to Detroit and be loud 'Hawks fans! This is a great opportunity to show the world what we're about, the atmosphere will be amazing. I would go if I weren't 5,000 miles away.

okjhok 11 years, 3 months ago

"I haven't checked out the seats, but wherever you'd be inside Ford Field, they'll be great seats," Mulally said. "It's a faaaabulous facility."

I'm sure it is a faaaabulous facility....for football games. The idea that any seat in the house will be a "great" seat is beyond ludicrous, unless you enjoy watching the game on a jumbo screen.

blackhawkjayhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

The real question is, Mr. Mulally.....can you get me a swee deal on a Mustang convertible?

tis4tim 11 years, 3 months ago

If Ford spent less money on naming rights to sports venues and more on making better cars, they wouldn't be going belly up.

Oh, yeah...Rock Chalk!

okjhok 11 years, 3 months ago

You won't be able to tell the difference between Chalmers and Robinson from section 325. Not complaining, just saying.

http://www.detroitlions.com/photos/NCAA_Seating080125.pdf

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

strikewso: LMAO! I can't believe someone brought up that commercial. I hate that freaking commercial! That horn blasting makes me want to rip my flat panel off the wall. I especially hate it when I have to listen to that commercial at night when my wife is asleep. It sounds like that commercial goes up a million decibels when it comes on. I always have to turn the volume down or change the channel when it comes on. I will never buy a VW because of that commercial. God it's ringing in my ear as we speak. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggg!

vmwskywalk 11 years, 3 months ago

How about the dumb girl that says "what's happening?". I'll tell you what's happening. You're getting F'ed with!

97jhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

FYI, there's another big time KU alum in the motor city. He's recently retired now, but he was the big cheese over at Daimler/Chrysler. None other than Rober Eaton. He's a KU Mech. Engr grad.

bmcmich1 11 years, 3 months ago

Ha, the veedub commercial--it's fast approaching all-time number 1 Chevy "this is our country" commercials on my annoyance charts. I was forced to burn all of my mellencamp cds and delete all of his songs from my computer after CBS (a pattern, perhaps?) showed that damn commercial OVER AND OVER AND OVER during NFL and NCAA tourney games!!!

My, how VW has fallen from their ingenious campaign featuring Uli the Nihilist from The Big Lebowski...

okjhok 11 years, 3 months ago

"Oh, that's just Uli...he's a nihilist" Love me some Lebowski quotes.

Jim Jackson 11 years, 3 months ago

That is sweet the ford CEO was a Hawk. We will soon run the world.

bmcmich1 11 years, 3 months ago

Maude Lebowski: "You can imagine what happens next"

Jeff Lebowski: "He fixes the cable?"

CarterFaucheaux 11 years, 3 months ago

"It's a faaaabulous facility."

really? so fab?

11 years, 3 months ago

Add me to the list of sane folks who absolutely loathe that VW commercial. Their marketing ploy is probably to get people to talk about how much they despise it. Thus, they win. * sigh *

Dirk Medema 11 years, 3 months ago

Let's hear it for remotes (and control thereof), the mute button, and pause when recording to edit out the commercials.

I got to watch KU beat IU in 9? at the Hoosier Dome (before stadiums started selling their souls). We didn't have great seats, but it was fun to be a part of it.

It was particularly fun since I was in grad school at Purdue at the time, and the one thing that any Boilermaker has to learn before graduating is "Beat I U". It was great that KU helped us out 3 of 4 times.

actorman 11 years, 3 months ago

What is mystifying to me is why any of you WATCH the commercials, or at least why you listen to them. Why don't you simply put on the mute button whenever the commercials come up? Or you could do what I do (if you have TIVO or DVR), which is to tape the game and watch it a little late so you can fast-forward through the commercials. Why would anyone intentionally subject themselves to people trying to shill their products? It's not like there isn't enough commercialism in all walks of life these days.

Joe Ross 11 years, 3 months ago

I might be inviting criticism like nectar does bees, but I have a problem with the headline. I was hoping to find that we had an "advantage" in ticket sales. Where is the advantage.

Michael Auchard 11 years, 3 months ago

Maybe it's just a subtle product placement, such as --

The advantage is Ford: Quality is job one. LOL.

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