January 9th, 2009

Ads May Become Revenue Stream

By Paul A. Anthony
San Angelo Standard-Times

San Angelo, [Texas], city officials are negotiating a contract with a local marketing firm that could significantly increase the advertising seen at city facilities and add a new revenue stream for the various departments at City Hall.

The contract, the go-ahead for which was approved Tuesday by the City Council, would allow McLaughlin Advertising to market ad space for such city facilities as the San Angelo Coliseum, the Bill Aylor Sr. Memorial RiverStage and the McNease Convention Center.

“We have some ideas; McLaughlin has some ideas,” said Civic Events Manager Anthony Wilson. “It’s going to be a matter of wading through them and seeing which are appropriate.”

The council raised concerns about signage at some venues - the RiverStage in particular - detracting from the surrounding aesthetics, a concern Wilson said he echoed, adding that a solution may be requiring council approval for each advertising contract.

Though terms of the contract have not yet been reached, the potential could be an injection of tens of thousands of dollars for the various city departments that manage the facilities in question.

Civic Events, which has run a budget deficit for several years, is especially likely to benefit, given its role as the manager of the convention center and coliseum.

“One of the things we want to do is get the fund balance up to a positive position,” Wilson said.

The city already has sold naming rights to two facilities - the 1st Community Credit Union Spur Arena, for which the bank paid $200,000 in 2003, and the Texas Bank Sports Complex, formerly the Rio Concho Sports Complex, rights for which cost $60,000 in six annual installments beginning this year.

The convention center would appear to be off limits, as it is named for former council member Kenneth McNease, but the “big plum,” Wilson said, could be selling naming rights to the coliseum, which is the city’s busiest facility and hosts one of the country’s largest rodeos every February.

The city sought proposals for a marketing agreement and conducted interviews with three companies, finally deciding McLaughlin’s vision was most in line with what officials saw as possibilities for additional advertising.

In a proposal booklet prepared by McLaughlin for the city, the firm proposes such steps as:

* Selling space on the coliseum steps.

* Updating and selling space on coliseum concessions menus.

* Selling sponsorships for the coliseum’s breakout rooms.

* LCD screens and advertising at the RiverStage.

* Fabric banners and logos made from acoustic panels for the interior of the convention center.

The final contract is likely to be based on a percentage of the deal struck between the city and any advertiser, Wilson told the council, meaning the marketing push will be cost-free for taxpayers.

“The city will have final say-so for the look and concept of any advertising,” Wilson said.


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