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By Ed Garsten / The Detroit News

Less than a year after financial woes threatened to send the Detroit Shock professional women’s basketball team packing to another town, the team has scored a deal that should keep it in Auburn Hills for the near future.

The Detroit Shock said Monday it has become the first WNBA team to land a “presenting sponsor” — the Metro Detroit Ford Dealers.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal means the Ford brand and Metro Detroit Ford Dealers’ names and logos will be included on all Shock promotional materials, in addition to tickets, Shock staff uniforms and signs at Locker Room stores, which sell Shock clothing and accessories.

The arrangement is similar to Rock Financial’s sponsorship of the Detroit Pistons, who also play at the Palace of Auburn Hills. William Davidson owns the Shock and the Pistons.

“It certainly helps us financially,” said Kristin Bernert, vice president of operations for the team.

A year ago, suffering from a losing record and a dwindling fan base since entering the league in 1998, the Shock were ready to try their luck elsewhere.

But after coach Bill Laimbeer convinced Davidson and Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Palace Sports and Entertainment, to keep the team in Detroit, the shock repaid the favor by vaulting from worst in the league to winning the WNBA championship last September in front of a league record crowd of 22,076 at the Palace.

“We knew by the end of last season that we weren’t going anywhere,” Wilson said. “We feel like we’re part of the fabric of the community now.”
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