The owners of Scottsdale's Pink Taco restaurant have serious designs on being the Arizona Cardinals' naming rights partner for the team's new stadium.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, are about as interested in "Pink Taco Stadium" as they are Sun Devil Stadium. According to the team, the Cardinals won't ever be playing in either.
"We're in serious discussions with companies about naming rights, and Pink Taco is not one of them," Cardinals spokesman Mark Dalton said Monday afternoon. "There's no doubt in our minds that this is a publicity stunt."
But at a Monday afternoon press conference, Pink Taco president Harry Morton sounded serious about making a deal happen. "We won't take no for an answer," he said.
All determination (and cash) aside, the Cardinals can choose whomever they want as a naming rights partner, and some believe there's no real hurry to rush into a deal.
Even so, Morton met with a Cardinals corporate sales representative last week to discuss a deal. He said there's a 10-year, $30 million deal on the table.
"A $30 million PR
stunt would be pretty expensive," Morton said. "We are serious about this."
Morton said Monday that there is another meeting scheduled with Cardinals officials for this week, but Dalton said no such meeting is arranged.
While the Cardinals view the whole thing as a publicity stunt, the fact remains that Pink Taco seems to have the financial resources and genuine desire to make a splash with the Cardinals and the NFL.
Harry Morton's father, Peter, founded the Hard Rock Cafe 35 years ago but sold it off last month for more than $700 million. Harry Morton had a $5 million check on hand at the press conference Monday that he is all-too willing to offer the Cardinals as part of the $30 million deal.
Morton said his father may also be looking to buy an NFL franchise, but did not elaborate.
The Cardinals are likely looking for a deal in the range of $5 million-plus a year for 25 years. Morton said his company would be willing to negotiate the financial terms of the deal, in addition to calling the building Morton Stadium.
Dalton said the Cardinals organization was put off by the scheduling of the press conference Monday, but Morton said it's simply the way his company does business.
"We have the edge and the cache to elevate the stature of the stadium," Morton said. "And we will deliver celebrity."
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer is a part owner of the Scottsdale Pink Taco, and Morton is currently dating actress/singer/tabloid queen Lindsay Lohan. Morton is also said to be friends with Cardinals rookie quarterback Matt Leinart.
The Scottsdale Pink Taco opened earlier this summer after a wave of publicity created when Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross publicly objected to the restaurant's name. While she felt the double entendre to be distasteful, the restaurant has been a hit and it's name has stuck.
The first Pink Taco opened in Las Vegas six years ago and the Scottsdale location was its second. A Los Angeles location will open in January. Other sites in the works include San Diego, Chicago and Dallas.