On June 17th, the Ottawa Senators announced a new naming rights deal with Canadian Tire for the soon-to-expire Scotiabank Place agreement. The complexity of the eight-year deal (with 10 year renewal option) really illustrates how sponsorship activation is playing centrestage vs. the traditional “let’s just put a sign on the building” approach.
The new arena deal (Canadian Tire Centre) will be used to promote more than just the flagship brand. It will also involve other companies under the Canadian Tire umbrella. Activation elements planned as part of the naming rights agreement include:
- One restaurant in the facility will be renamed the Sport Chek Sports Pub and Grill;
- The 800 arena staff members will be outfitted in clothing from Mark’s Work Warehouse;
- The parking lot will be used as an advertising venue for Canadian Tire’s automotive business, including promotional offers printed on the back of parking stubs.
- The 10,000-square-foot kitchen will be renamed the Canadian Tire Kitchen, and will be the setting of online videos and commercials to promote the retailer’s housewares.
- Rink boards will include advertising for store brands such as Mastercraft and Denver Hayes.
- Advertising time during games broadcasts, which will now be called Canadian Tire Ottawa Senators on Sportsnet;
- Players who do interviews between periods will have towels around their necks with the Sport Chek brand on them.
As one can see, the span of the agreement and level of marketing integration is far broader than naming-rights deals of the past. However, it is indicative of marketers’ changing demands when it comes to sponsorship. According to Cyril Leeder, President of Senators Sport and Entertainment “There’s been a shift coming for a number of years now, and it’s intensifying. They’re not just branding any more with teams.… Marketers want more from their dollar that they’re investing with teams”.
For anyone seeking sponsorship of any kind, this provides a great example of the creativity and thought that needs to go into successful sponsorship or naming rights proposals. The old days of banners and signs are going the way of the dodo bird and anyone not on board will soon find themselves on the outside looking in.