On one hand, I’m pleased that MLSE was able to cement a deal for $800,000,000 with Scotiabank for the 20-year naming rights to the formerly named Air Canada Centre (ACC). The deal speaks volumes about the importance of connecting with existing or potential customers on their turf and legitimizes sponsorship as a vehicle to get this done. It also shows the importance that companies place on branding and how competitive it is in getting in the hearts and minds of Canadians.
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.
- 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.