February 27th, 2009

City Ponders Name Game

By Frank Landry
Edmonton Sun (Canada)

City politicians are considering a proposal to actively try to sell the naming rights to four new recreation centres.

But one councillor says the idea already makes him nervous.

“The city’s always been really good at resisting the temptation to go down this road,” said Coun. Ben Henderson. “These are public facilities. If we start selling them as advertising opportunities, it makes me very nervous.”

Under city policy, officials cannot actively try to sell the naming rights to existing Edmonton-owned facilities. The policy doesn’t apply to new buildings, but administration does require the go-ahead from council.

A report released yesterday states the city could generate revenue by selling the naming rights to new Southwest, Meadows, Clareview and North Central recreation centres.

Naming rights to parts of the buildings, like a rink, could also be sold. There’s no indication of how much money could be made, or which sponsors the city has its eyes on.

“Every application is going to have to be weighed,” said Coun. Bryan Anderson.

“Council, myself included, is going to have to step back and say, ‘Am I prepared for the next 30 or 50 years to go to the such-and-such rec centre,’ and have it feel good.”

There are strict guidelines on the types of sponsors that would be considered. A city policy requires that they’re “reflective of the city’s values and mandate,” according to the report.

The names would also be vetted through the city’s naming committee and the Edmonton Historical Board. The matter is expected to be considered next week by the community services committee of council.

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