SBJ/October 9 - 15, 2006/This Weeks News

Magic hopes to start season with new arena name

The Orlando Magic hopes to close a deal for a new naming-rights partner for its arena by Nov. 1, its regular-season home opener.

The naming agreement for TD Waterhouse
Centre expired last month.
The naming agreement for the arena, TD Waterhouse Centre, expired Sept. 30.

“The thinking on the Magic’s part is that the announcement would coincide with the start of the season,” said Dick Sherwood, president for Front Row Marketing, the third-party consultant the Magic hired to help sell naming rights.

The club is talking to two prospects, a travel related company and a financial services firm, Sherwood said. Sherwood declined to name the corporations. Jack Swope, the Magic’s senior vice president of corporate sales and marketing, did not return phone calls for comment.

Allen Johnson, director for the Orlando Centroplex, which includes the publicly owned arena, confirmed that the team expects to complete a new naming-rights deal by the first week of November. The contract includes the option to name a new arena.

Local government approved a finance plan Sept. 29 to build a $480 million facility after several years of negotiating with the Magic to increase the team’s contribution. The Magic committed $50 million to the project and will sign a 25-year lease.

The agreement should make it easier for the Magic to resell naming rights for the 17-year-old arena and get a deal done for the new building, Johnson said.

“We had three companies interested at one time and lost one, a home builder,” Sherwood said. “Coincidentally, within the next week, the travel-related company [that had originally expressed interest] came back.”

The financial terms for the existing arena should be comparable to the five-year, $7.9 million contract TD Waterhouse, which has since merged with Ameritrade, signed in 1999, Johnson said. The deal was extended for two years.

The expired contract terms provided the city 28 percent of naming-rights revenue, or $500,000 annually. That share of income will stay the same for the new agreement, Johnson said.

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