Minnesota Lynx, Timberwolves will announce 'collaboration' with Mayo Clinic

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Lynx are set to become part of a major business collaboration in downtown Minneapolis. Could a jersey sponsorship be on the horizon as well?

As reported by Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press this past weekend, the Minnesota Lynx and Timberwolves are scheduled to announce a rather significant collaboration with the Mayo Clinic and Provident Real Estate Ventures at Block E, a downtown Minneapolis retail complex that has generally been considered a failure.

As part of a Block E renovation project led by Provident, which bought the 11-year-old complex in 2010, the Lynx and Wolves will be opening a new headquarters and practice facility at the complex, as previously announced in November. Janet Moore of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported after the practice facility announcement that Provident was on the lookout for new tenants. The new development, as reported by Walters, is the Mayo Clinic's plan to open a new sports medicine clinic as part of the project.

Jeff Hansel of the Post-Bulletin - which is based in Rochester, MN where Mayo is already planning to establish a world-class hockey training center - has more details on Mayo's synergy with this project.

Mayo has made a push into sports medicine recently...Mayo and the basketball franchises have been tight-lipped about the full extent of their planned collaboration. But Mayo's expected expansion into sports training for basketball may give a hint about its wider plans...It's clear any facility in Minneapolis will feed complex sports injuries to Mayo's sports-medicine center in Rochester.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal first reported back in May 2013 that Mayo Clinic was a possibility, particularly in light of their sponsorship agreement with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.

Given Mayo's interest in expanding its brand in Minnesota and involvement in this larger downtown project involving the city's pro basketball teams, could a jersey sponsorship of some sort be in the works for the Lynx? If so, it would be some much needed good news for the WNBA in light of the Phoenix Mercury's announcement of a sponsorship agreement yesterday: even if the tenuous state of the L.A. Sparks has created considerable anxiety among WNBA fans about the health of the league, that another sponsorship partner is jumping into the mix not only helps those teams but also signals that external entities are seeing something of value in the league financially.

If nothing else, the Lynx will have a new place to practice.

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