This afternoon at Startup Edmonton, Rexall Sports (or should that be the Edmonton Arena Corporation) announced that it has reached a deal with Rogers Communications on the naming rights for Edmonton’s new downtown arena. When it opens in 2016, it’ll be known as Rogers Place.
Here’s what the folks involved had to say. First, Daryl Katz:
“Today’s announcement helps make the new arena a reality and underscores its potential to make downtown Edmonton a magnet for our community and for new investment by world-class companies like Rogers.”
Here’s what Rogers Communications Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer John Boynton said:
“Today’s announcement builds on our long-term commitment to the Edmonton Oilers, its hockey fans and our investment in Alberta. Rogers Place will be one of the most technologically enabled stadiums in North America; we look forward to bringing passionate fans a connected game experience powered by the country’s fastest LTE network.”
And here’s what Mayor Don Iveson said:
“This is a great day for Edmonton’s downtown and our city. Rogers Place will become a beacon in our downtown, one that will foster a new sense of energy that will further attract development and investment in the heart of our city.”
Here’s a look at how the arena is envisioned to fit into the new downtown:
The name certainly didn’t inspire everyone, but some were more annoyed by the revenue than the name. Under the terms of the agreement between City Council and Daryl Katz, his Edmonton Arena Corporation (EAC) would receive revenue from the naming rights:
EAC will operate the new arena and pay all operating and maintenance expenses, and will receive all operating revenues, including naming rights and parking revenue.
Rogers announced on October 1st a $700M commitment over the next four years to further enhance and expand Rogers LTE – Canada’s fastest LTE network, open additional retail locations, fuel business growth and continue to build its presence in sports in Edmonton and across Alberta.
In addition to network enhancements, new retail locations, and new business services, Rogers acquired the official sponsorship and marketing rights for the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Oil Kings, and Rexall Place.
I’m happy that the arena has a name and has moved another step toward becoming a reality, but I do think this is a missed opportunity for Edmonton. Rogers benefits from this deal obviously, but Edmonton doesn’t because “Rogers Place” could be anywhere. This is something we get wrong so often, partly because of our “capital city curse” as I like to call it, but partly because we don’t have a strong brand to hang these sorts of things on. Sure, most arenas and sporting complexes carry a sponsored name, but isn’t that a great opportunity to be different? Instead, it’s all about the money.
“The first naming of the arena, back in 1974 when it was called the Edmonton Coliseum was the best. That was the right name for our building. It still is.”
Yup. Too bad.
Here’s some other reaction from around the web:
In a vote on the Cult of Hockey blog, “Rogers Coliseum” seemed to be the favorite choice, ahead of “Some other name entirely” and “Rogers Place” in last. In a poll on Global’s website, more than 60% said they didn’t like the name “Rogers Place”. You can watch an overview of the announcement at CTV Edmonton. Also check out the Huffington Post’s coverage here.