Naming Rights Need to be a Good Fit to Stick

Naming rights for municipal facilities are increasing significantly across the country. While it’s important to generate much needed revenue, municipalities also need to consider the impact that the “fit” plays in community support for naming rights initiatives.

Any new naming opportunity should:

  • be easy to remember;
  • be easy to say in a sentence;
  • have some inherent logic behind it;
  • be attached to a new facility for which there is little or no previous naming legacy (or brand);
  • have some kind of connection between what goes on in the facility and the sponsor that supports the company branding and positioning and can be leveraged (and reinforced) over time.

Most consumers are aware that municipalities need to generate cash and want to be supportive, because it affects their user fees and taxes. In my experience, the majority of people simply don’t care one way or the other and will adapt to whatever name is on the facility header if that facility is the most convenient for them to use. Alternatively, they resort to using whatever previous name they remember. Check out the recent post by the Toronto Star to see what I mean:

There’s another very good reason why “fit” is so important. A good fit means that acceptance from the community is high, resulting in a successful sponsorship that can lead to possible renewal for another term after the current one expires. This is why thought needs to go into which brand makes the most sense for each facility naming right; whether it is a complementary product or a strong community connection such as a major employer who hires a lot of people in the community.

Here are examples of unusual facility names:

• 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphiteatre (Tampa)
• Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago)
• SAVE-ON-FOODS Memorial Centre (Victoria)
• Pizza Hut Park (Frisco, commonly referred to as The Oven, until 2012)
• KFC Yum! Centre (Louisville)
• Middelfart Stadium (Denmark)
• Smoothie King Center (New Orleans)
• Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Minnesota)
• Talking Stick Resort Arena (Phoenix)
• Whataburger Field (Corpus Christi)
• KFC Yum! Center (Louisville)
• Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland)

One of the key topics to be addressed at the Municipal Forum on Sponsorship, is community facility naming rights. Specifically, we’ll look at determining the fair market value of these assets and how to increase community acceptance of naming opportunities.

Come and share your experiences and learn how others have dealt with naming rights assets.

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