BC Place next in line for new corporate moniker

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Sponsorship will help cover cost of the new roof

Brad Ziemer

General Motors Place has become Rogers Arena and soon its neighbour, BC Place Stadium, will have a new name.

By the time it reopens in the fall of 2011 with a new retractable roof, the 60,000-seat facility will have a corporate moniker of its own.

General manager Howard Crosley said Wednesday the process of finding a naming-rights sponsor for the stadium is well underway.

“We are working on a whole number of things, but that is one of the things that we are working on,” he said.

BC Place Stadium has become a rarity in today’s sports world, where the vast majority of stadiums and arenas have corporate names.

A name change to BC Place Stadium figures to require an even bigger adjustment for consumers than the one announced Tuesday by the Canucks and Rogers. BC Place has been BC Place since it opened in 1983, and Crosley agreed that a new name, whatever it may be, will take getting used to.

“I have been listening to radio reports over the last day and there seems to be some negative reaction to the change from GM Place to Rogers Arena,” he said. “So there is going to be some negative reaction, I’m sure, but we would hope that people will understand that this is all to assist the taxpayers and helping us to refurbish the stadium.”

Money received by selling the naming rights will be used to pay back the provincial government loan for the new roof, which is costing nearly $500 million.

General Motors is believed to have paid more than $800,000 a year for naming rights for GM Place, while more recent deals have netted NHL teams much more money. Air Canada pays $1.5 million a year for naming rights to the Air Canada Centre, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors of the NBA. The refurbished BC Place will be home to the B.C. Lions and Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps.

Crosley said his team is in the research stage of their search for a sponsor.

“It’s not something where you take out an ad in a newspaper and hope somebody responds to it,” he said. “It is something you have to do a lot of research on, which is kind of the phase that we are in now, and target specific companies that have certain objectives within the marketplace.”

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