Why are naming rights an attractive opportunity for corporate sponsors?
I think companies have individual motives for purchasing naming rights, but there are usually four basic reasons: for marketing purposes, they’re going to sell more products or services; to develop equity and goodwill in the community; a shared fate rationale (i.e., an improved quality of life for the community is also good for the company); and to help recruit and retain employees in the community.
What do sponsors typically look for in a naming rights opportunity?
Visibility is number one—name on the outside of the building, signage inside the building, etc. Companies are also looking for a higher level of engagement with the community. There’s a greater emphasis being placed on showing that the sponsor is offering value back to the community, and for municipalities to show how the naming rights money is being put to good use to help community members have a better experience.
Rights in Perpetuity
While sponsorship deals have largely moved away from granting in-perpetuity naming rights (the exceptions are commemorative or charitable namings), the Canada Games Council (CGC) has, for decades, inked deals that require host cities to designate a local facility—either a new build or a renovation—as the Games’ legacy building in perpetuity.
The idea is to leave each host city with a daily bricks-and-mortar reminder of all the hard work that went into preparing for and hosting the Games, says CGC president David Patterson. “We want that legacy to live on.”
2017 Canada Summer Games
(July 28 – August 13) Winnipeg
The Canada Games Sport for Life Centre is a renovation/build-out that houses the offices of more than 70 provincial sport organizations. It also includes a brand new fitness, sports training and high performance facility.
CGC and the city’s host society agreed to put the Canada Games name and logo on the overall complex in perpetuity, and to also allow Sport Manitoba to negotiate exterior naming rights on the new training facility. Qualico, a Winnipeg real estate firm, acquired 10-year rights to name the building the Qualico Training Centre.
2019 Canada Winter Games
(February 15 – March 3) Red Deer, Alta
The city is building a new sports facility on the Red Deer College campus. The legacy facility is named the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre to recognize both the upcoming Winter Games and a $5-million donation by Harris, a local businessman and philanthropist.