The total value for the Senators' new arena naming-rights deal with Canadian Tire will be "massive," well in excess of the team's current 15-year, C$20M agreement with Scotiabank, according to a source cited by Bruce Garrioch of the OTTAWA SUN. Canadian Tire will have naming rights to the venue for "at least eight years." Neither Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk nor Canadian Tire Senior VP/Communications & Corporate Affairs Duncan Fulton would "comment on the terms of the agreement, but it's safe to say it's more" than the C$1.36M Scotiabank was paying per season. A league exec said that he "believed it was worth" in the C$1.5-2M range per season. Melnyk said, "It's very important for us to have somebody not only this committed to the fans, but also to the community." He added, "In the end, it turned out to be a very extensive deal and you're going to see a lot of big changes (to the building). They'll get a lot out of this, especially with the various fans." Melnyk started "working on the deal two months ago." Scotiabank will "remain the 'official bank,' of the Senators, but won't have the brand on the building." Canadian Tire has been a "sponsor of the Senators since the club launched its bid for an NHL team" in '90. An official NHL sponsor, the company has been "working hard to increase its visibility in sports." Fulton said, "The last couple of years you've really seen Canadian Tire go on the offence in sports. We're just embedding sports in everything we do" (OTTAWA SUN, 6/19). The GLOBE & MAIL's Susan Krashinsky notes the deal is "one more step in Canadian Tire’s strategy to cement its association with sports -- and to strengthen its brand image as 'Canada’s store.'” Fulton said, "This is really going to advance our thinking on how to activate the whole family of companies." In addition to arena naming rights, the deal "also gives the retailer naming rights and advertising time during games broadcasts, which will now be called Canadian Tire Ottawa Senators on Sportsnet, broadcast in most of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada." The signage "will be changed" in time for next season. Meanwhile, Bank of Nova Scotia yesterday announced it would continue to be a Senators sponsor (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/19).
HIGHLIGHTS OF SENATORS/CANADIAN TIRE DEAL
Naming rights to the building, digital, scoreboard and on-ice signage.
A redesigned "Sport Chek Sports Bar and Grill" on the main concourse.
Fans will be able to purchase tickets for all events at the Canadian Tire Centre at Capital Tickets kiosks at select Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Sports Experts and Mark's stores in the region.
Title sponsor on Senators' broadcasts on Rogers Sportsnet.
Mark's will be the official outfitter of the employees at Canadian Tire Centre with outfits from Denver Hayes.
The arena's kitchens will be known as the official "Canadian Tire kitchens." The company will test new equipment and produce commercials in the building.
Canadian Tire will also be involved in several community outreach programs with the Senators and their charitable foundation.
CASINO ROYALE: In Ottawa, Derek Spalding notes Melnyk in a meeting with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson yesterday "expressed his frustration with the latest political push to limit the city’s planned casino expansion to Rideau Carleton Raceway." Melnyk said that he worked "extensively with three other partners to create a thorough business plan for a casino to operate out of the Kanata arena." Melnyk: "I played by the rules and all of a sudden you’re saying those rules don’t really count. I’m very disillusioned right now, and it’s not a pleasant thing to deal with and I’ve got to deal with it because you can’t operate in a one-way street and that’s what this is right now" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 6/19).
Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay yesterday said that the team will "offer financial incentives to motivate contractors" to finish its new downtown stadium ahead of its currently scheduled March '17 opening, according to Leon Stafford of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. McKay said that the deal with its construction team "offers money if specific goals are met ahead of the deadline," and that "meeting the opening date helps Georgia Dome legacy events, such as the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the SEC Championship, plan for the move to a new facility." While McKay did not give the value of the incentives, he said that they are "typical in a large construction project." Early projections "pegged the cost [of]the project" at between $948M-$1B. McKay said that now that the project is "getting more detailed, that could change." The Georgia World Congress Center Authority yesterday "approved hiring Holder, Hunt, H.J. Russell and C.D. Moody construction companies as the project’s general contractor" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/19).
Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie said landing a future Super Bowl "wasn't the intention" behind the team's planned $125M in upgrades to Lincoln Financial Field, according to Zach Berman of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. But Lurie added, "Certainly when I'm on the Super Bowl committee, when you're bidding on a Super Bowl, the committee looks very closely at your stadium and your city and what you can host. Philadelphia would be a great place." Berman writes Lurie "has a point about the stadium." The Dolphins' bid to host Super Bowl L in '16 was "thwarted when organizers could not raise the funds to improve their stadium." But the Eagles' case is different "considering that Lincoln Financial Field is a newer facility than Sun Life Stadium and that the renovations are privately financed." Meanwhile, Lurie said of the upcoming Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, "We're going to watch that very closely. I'm sure we've all been in phenomenal football games outside in December and January. We're going to root for a decent-weather day in New York and New Jersey. We think we've got a great city here to host it, and a great stadium, and I'm sure others feel the same way" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/18). ESPN.com's Dan Graziano wrote of a potential Philadelphia Super Bowl, "Maybe it's not the intention, but surely it's a potential byproduct that has crossed Lurie's mind." The NFL insisted that a cold-weather Super Bowl this coming season "was a one-time deal and special because of New York." But the league "says a lot of things that aren't true, and they've made it clear that the stadium is the biggest factor in a city getting the game" (ESPN.com, 6/18).
Endowment seat sales for the Univ. of California-Berkeley's Memorial Stadium have "stagnated at 1,857 seats," and school officials are "finding other ways they hope will pay the huge bill" for recent upgrades, according to Nanette Asimov of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The campus carries $445M in debt for the renovation of its "once-seismically unsound football stadium" -- which cost $321M and opened Sept. 1 -- and its new student athletic center, which cost $153M. Computer science professor Brian Barsky and "other skeptics call this debt burden a 'noose around the campus' neck' that could prevent Cal from pursuing other worthy projects requiring it to borrow money, like retrofitting buildings that don't meet seismic standards." Stadium debt "already absorbs" 20% of intercollegiate athletics' annual income, or roughly $18M of its $89M budget. And that "pays only the interest." Cal "won't start paying down the principal until 2032, when its yearly payments rise" to $26M, then $37M, before "tapering off" in 2051. After a "brief respite, Cal will owe a lump sum" of $82M in 2053 alone. Then it will have "six decades to pay off the final" 17% or $75M. Cal officials recently learned that even if "every endowment seat were sold," the school would still be short $134M, "nearly a third of its debt." The idea was to "find new ways to raise money -- and hire sales professionals to figure out how." Until last fall, seating and ticket sales had been "managed by Cal's development office." Cal Vice Chancellor/Administration & Finance John Wilton said that the school "agreed to pay about $300,000 a year to 'professionalize' the efforts, and it's been worth it." The professionals are "expanding the sales pitch for endowment seating beyond alumni, to corporations." Campus officials also "asked advice from their own Haas School of Business, and from the owners of endowment seats" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/17).
MGM and AEG will finance a new Las Vegas arena "with equity contributions, plus third-party financing," and "no public dollars are being sought," according to Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Icon Venue Group "coordinated the architect selection process" that chose Populous to design the arena. Icon President & CEO Tim Romani said, "This project is exciting. We’ve been working with AEG on developing an arena in Las Vegas since 2007." He added that while the facility "does not have an NBA or NHL team lined up as an anchor tenant, the building will be designed and constructed to accommodate a big-league basketball or hockey franchise." Romani said the new venue's "model is the Sprint Center” in K.C. He added, “We want to make it a great event center. Las Vegas is the event capital of the world and we want to make sure it will be optimal in handling any kind of event.” Romani said that the site is 12 acres, "with the arena expected to cover 4.5 to 5 acres." He added that the $350M project "will include hard construction costs of about" $225-250M, and is "expected to take 22 months to build, with the first arena act to open" in May '16 (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/19).