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Nov. 17, 2014

LeBron commercial filmed at Cleveland State

By Jordan Smith

In the midst of the enormous media spotlight the Cleveland Cavaliers have brought to the area, Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center has earned its 15 minutes of fame. During the media frenzy that was the Cavaliers 2014-15 home opener, Nike premiered a commercial that would overwhelmingly capture the hearts of Northeast Ohioans far and wide. The spot is precisely two minutes and 16 seconds long, perhaps another inadvertent nod to the area given its “216” area code.

The commercial features hordes of proud Clevelanders joining arms during a city-wide pregame huddle led by LeBron James.

The ad starts off with James emerging onto the floor during pregame introductions at a court that appears to be Quicken Loans Arena. Little did the audience know that it was actually the Wolstein Center that was the setting for the commercial. Around 500 extras filled the Wolstein Center Monday, Oct. 6 for 17 hours to shoot the commercial. In return for the usage of its facilities, Nike paid $75,000 to Cleveland State. The deal sparked a firestorm of commentary on as to how the university should use the money.
While some suggest complete demolition of the arena, trustees are exploring renovation options, which would include a drastic size reduction.

Currently, the Wolstein Center is facing an operating deficit in the neighborhood of $900,000.
Matt Herpich, general manager of the Wolstein Center, said that every outside organization that uses the Wolstein Center pays a rental fee. That fee is event revenue that gets applied to the operating budget.
Like most students, Allie Dumksi, Student Government Association president, finds it cool that the commercial was shot right here on campus.

“It is a very inspiring commercial, and my intramural volleyball team even adopted the cheer at the end,” Dumski said.

As for the $75,000, she would like to see that money go towards longer library hours or to lowering the cost of parking lot hangtags. Dumski said the impact James makes in the community is already evident.

“I think the growing hype downtown has sparked some excitement at CSU,” Dumpski said.

“Students are proud to be Clevelanders and Cleveland Staters. I can definitely see this benefiting the CSU community, and there is plenty of opportunity for us students to get together and celebrate all the good things happening.”

Junior, Business and Administration major Gunnar Beuley isn’t too sure how the $75,000 should be used, but he definitely sees the positive impact James has made on the community at Cleveland State.

“I would say he definitely influences CSU students. Not just athletes or CSU basketball players,” Beuley said.

“I see a lot of LBJ [LeBron James] shirts and jerseys again on campus. A lot of people talk about the Cavs. It’s really exciting to see.”

Beuely also sees more exciting things unfolding around campus and in the downtown area, using Usher’s most recent concert at the Quicken Loans Arena as an example.

“I think more and more celebrities and athletes will come to Cleveland, which will definitely help the city earn more money,” he says.

Though it is unsure how much James’ return will mean to Cleveland State specifically, Time Magazine reported in mid-July that his return could provide a boost of up to $500 million to Cleveland’s economy.