There is no place in the country that's hurting more right now than Detroit and the state of Michigan. The mitten has lost hundreds of thousands of high paying auto jobs, and General Motors and Chrysler have resorted government loans just to stay in business. Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch knows this all too well, and attendance at games this year will likely realize just how bad times are. The Little Caesar's pizza founder even lost GM as the sponsor of his high profile center field fountain at Comerica Park.

The spot typically fetches $1.5 to $2 million for a three-year contract, money that comes in handy when forking out over $100 million a year in baseball salaries. The advertising spot is attractive, however, because the fountain goes off every time there's a home run, and when necks crane to watch, they get an eye-full of the sponsor's logo. Instead of searching for another ad partner for the fountain, even potentially accepting money from import automakers, Ilitch has decided to give away the prime spot to the Detroit Three as a thank you for the industry's support of Michigan over the years. The fountain will, at least for 2009, have the logos of Ford, GM, and Chrysler, with "The Detroit Tigers support our automakers" below. Now Detroit automakers and Ilitch need the Tigers to actually be good this year and hit a few home runs so the new ad can be seen.

[Source: Free Press via The GM Source]