MLS Whitecaps Told To Stop Referring To Home Field As "Bell Pitch"
The B.C. Pavilion Corp. Friday said that it "will take legal action" against the MLS Whitecaps and their sponsor Bell if they "do not stop using the term 'Bell Pitch' to refer to the soccer field at BC Place," according to Jeff Lee of the VANCOUVER SUN. PavCo Chair David Podmore said that his organization "never conferred any naming rights to either the Whitecaps or Bell when it agreed to a 15-year lease with the soccer club." He added that PavCo began sending the club and Bell "notices to 'cease and desist' using the term Bell Pitch from the time the Whitecaps moved into BC Place Stadium last spring." Podmore: "To be clear about this, neither the Whitecaps nor Bell have any rights to utilize the name Bell Pitch or to name any components of the building or the building itself. PavCo has not given any (of those) rights to any of them. Their rights are limited to advertising within the inner bowl of the stadium and it is very, very clear in the agreement. And we will take the steps necessary to stop them using the term Bell Pitch." He described the term as a "blatant ambush which usurps naming rights without compensation." He "was particularly angered by recent full-page advertisements by Bell and the Whitecaps describing the facility as 'Bell Pitch downtown.'" Lee noted the "dispute’s escalation follows on the heels of a messy decision by the provincial government to cancel an all-but-signed" C$40M, 20-year naming-rights deal between Telus and PavCo. Podmore said that those negotiations "became complicated when Bell and the Whitecaps began referring to the stadium as 'Bell Pitch'" (VANCOUVER SUN, 3/10).