Preliminary Results of Canadian Municipal Benchmarking Survey on Sponsorship and Naming Rights

Initial results of a survey conducted by CEPSM in June-July 2015 of municipal sponsorship and naming rights activities nation-wide would indicate that more municipalities are seeking corporate partners as a means of off-setting non-tax revenue and the municipal sponsorship sector is clearly evolving.

According to survey results, 65% of municipalities are involved in some form of sponsorship engagement, whether it’s seeking naming rights for facilities or other community assets or generating financial and in-kind support for programs, events and other community initiatives. Of the 35% not actively engaged at the moment (of which most are smaller communities), 90% of those are considering various levels of sponsorship in the near future; with naming rights, program and event sponsorships the most common.

The survey also indicated that almost 100% of municipalities with populations over 50,000 are involved at varying levels of corporate engagement, with some municipalities such as Burlington, Calgary, Edmonton, Mississauga, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Whitby taking a very active role in recruiting sponsors, while others are taking a more passive approach.

Survey Highlights:

  • 65% of municipalities are involved in some form of corporate engagement. This is up sharply from a 2013 survey that showed 45% were actively marketing their sponsorship and naming rights opportunities;
  • 94% of those municipalities actively marketing their assets are seeking naming rights sponsors. Furthermore, 62% already have agreements in place;
  • Municipalities appear to be getting more strategic in their approach; the most common term for naming agreements is 5-10 years (45%). This is in sharp contrast to the “In Perpetuity” terms that were commonly used a few years ago;
  • Arenas (96%), Recreation Complexes (82%), Pools (61%) and Sports Fields (61%) are viewed as the best opportunities for sponsorship;
  • 68% use internal staff to market their opportunities and manage the program;
  • 55% of those actively involved manage their sponsorship program through a Central Office, while 45% leave it to individual departments (i.e. Recreation, Community Services) or programs to implement their own programs;
  • Revenue from sponsorship and naming rights is allocated to a variety of areas including general revenue accounts, departmental reserves and the sponsored program/facility/service.

The full details of the survey will be released at the Municipal Forum on Sponsorship on November 6th at the Grand Hotel and Suites in Toronto.

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