Results of National Survey on Municipal Naming Rights

To support our ever-growing body of expertise in this area, our firm conducted a national survey in February this year to get an overall snapshot of Naming Rights activities and practices among Canadian Municipalities. This and other information collected through the survey will be discussed in greater detail at the 3rd Annual Municipal Forum on Sponsorship on November 7, 2013 at the Grand Hotel and Suites in Toronto.  Here are some key findings from the survey:

Survey Respondents Overview

A total of 41 Surveys were completed. Responding municipalities included those from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. Ontario had the highest representation at 21 responses, with 65% from larger municipalities (over 100,000) and 35% from smaller jurisdictions. The responses were roughly split between larger and smaller municipalities.

Current Activity

  • 63.4% are currently actively involved in seeking Naming Rights sponsors
  • 66.7% of respondents that are not currently actively seeking Naming Rights sponsors are considering it in the future. 26.7% were “not sure”.

Types of Facilities

Naming Rights are applied to a wide range of facilities including: Arenas, Banquet Halls, Bocce Courts, Ball Diamonds, Childcare Facilities, Community Rooms, Convention Centres, Dressing Rooms, Fitness Centres, Libraries, Meeting Rooms, Pools, Recreation Complexes, Soccer Fields, Skateboard Parks, Skating Rinks, Sports Field and Theatres.

Naming Rights Terms

  • The most common term for Naming Rights agreements is “In Perpetuity” (37.7%), with the next highest term at 10 years (24.4%) and the third highest at 5 years (15.5%).
  • 66.7% of respondents feel that the ideal term for Naming Rights agreements is 10 years; with 14.3% indicating 5 years and 20 years.

Naming Rights Policies

  • 71.4% currently have a Naming Rights Policy.

Use of Internal Staff / External Contractors

  • 66.7% of municipalities use Internal Staff to market and sell their Naming Rights opportunities.

Of the 33.3% that use External Contractors:  

  • 60% use a combination of Retainer and Commission to compensate contractors
  • 40% use straight Commission
  • the most common Commission Rates are 10% and 20% (both at 40% of respondents)

Council Involvement

  • 88.2% report that Council Members are involved in the Naming Rights process; either by referring potential Naming Rights prospects, attending meetings with prospects and/or approving Naming Rights agreements.

Revenue Allocation

The money received through Naming Rights is allocated in a number of ways:

  • 17.6 allocate the money to a General Revenue Account
  • 41.2% use the money to Improve/Enhance the facility
  • 41.2% use a combination of Revenue Account and Facility Enhancements

This survey confirmed our ongoing research that sponsorship revenue development is gradually being integrated into municipal operations as municipalities grapple with the challenges of “doing more for less”.  The Municipal Forum on Sponsorship will address many of the issues faced by municipalities as they consider their approach and options and will give attendees a chance to speak to other municipalities from across Canada who are facing the same challenges.

Later, BC


Take the Re-Think Quiz

Further to my last post ‘It’s Probably Time to Re-Vamp Your Sponsorship Program’ why don’t you take a short quiz and see where you stand?

7 Signs You Need to Re-Think Your Sponsorship Program

You may want to re-vamp your sponsorship program if:

[  ] The biggest innovation you’ve made is the introduction of the Platinum level to your generic Gold, Silver and Bronze packages;

[  ] You have difficulty explaining to a prospect how your sponsorship offering is going to help them achieve their business objectives;

[  ] You aren’t sure how to respond when a sponsor or prospect tells you they’ll be allocating most of their money to social media marketing;

[  ] You are not leveraging social media to engage your audiences and build sponsor visibility;

[  ] You’re struggling with how to identify new prospects or how to expand your sponsorship program;

[  ] You’re not really sure what it means to “activate” a sponsorship;

[  ] Your revenue is decreasing each year and your best excuse is “the economy”.

If you’ve checked at least two, you’d derive some benefit from attending one of my workshops: Designing Your Sponsorship Program and/or Selling Your Sponsorship Program being held in Toronto and Ottawa this fall.  These workshops are designed to bring you up to speed with the latest trends in sponsorship marketing and provide you with the strategies and tools to grow your sponsorship revenue, even in these challenging economic times. Take either workshop to refine your skills in a specific area, or take both workshops to learn a whole new approach to designing and implementing a successful sponsorship program!

Register NOW


It’s Probably Time To Re-Vamp Your Sponsorship Program

If you haven’t conducted a thorough review of your sponsorship program in the past two years, you’re probably out-of-date with a lot of trends in sponsorship and likely not in line with the current economic environment.  Here are a few key trends that will help you determine if your sponsorship program is in line with today’s reality:

Everyone thinking that “Social Media is the answer to everything” There is no doubt that social media is an extremely powerful marketing tool, but it still needs to be considered as only one part of the marketing mix. Unfortunately, many people are beginning to think that social media is the answer to all of their marketing problems. Both current sponsors and prospects need to be educated on the role of sponsorships in relation to social media and other marketing tactics as well as how all of the elements need to be integrated to achieve maximum results. Therefore, in order to effectively sell your sponsorship program, you need to be able to articulate the value that your sponsorship solution brings to the marketing mix and in particular, how it can be integrated with a company’s social media efforts.

Inclusion of Social Media in Sponsorship Benefits Packages Further to the above, most companies are looking for some level of social media engagement as part of their sponsorship packages and if you are not addressing this need, you are probably missing the mark from a value perspective.

It’s a Sponsorship “Buyer’s” Market The economic downturn has created an environment where there are significantly more organizations seeking sponsorship dollars than companies with money to spend on sponsorship marketing.  Simply stated, companies with money to spend have the “pick of the crop”, so the question you have to ask yourself is “does my sponsorship program have what it takes to be seriously considered among the hundreds of proposals that some companies receive each week”?

Shift from Interruptive Messaging to Relevant Communications The Internet has created a whole new culture where permission-based communications is becoming the norm and where intrusive messaging is no longer being accepted, often creating  a long-term, negative impact for a company. There is a growing reality that messages need to be timely and relevant to the audience’s needs in order for these messages to be well received and even welcomed.

Focus on Customer “Value-Add” Further to the above, there is a growing realization that if the customer experience is enhanced through a sponsorship, the customer will likely look more favourably on that company (and ultimately purchase their products).  As a result, sponsorship activation is becoming increasingly important as a means of demonstrating a brand’s attributes in a way that’s relevant to the audience and contributes to their overall experience.  In the new game, the audience needs to benefit from the sponsorship as much as the sponsee and  sponsor.

Shift from Generic Partnerships to Targeted Sponsorships More and more, we are seeing companies shift their sponsorship resources from generic properties and benefits to more targeted activities aimed at achieving specific corporate objectives.  As a result, many organizations are witnessing a significant drop in revenue from their traditional “strongholds”.  To counter this shift, organizations need to revamp their current benefits programs to build in more tangible marketing opportunities or build additional inventory in their other activities (i.e. events) to allow for the cross-pollination of benefits packages.

These are just a few of the issues I will be addressing in my upcoming Designing and Selling Your Sponsorship Program workshops in Toronto and Ottawa this fall. For more information, click on the Upcoming Workshops bar at the top of the page.

Later,                                                                                                                                                        BC