No matter what it will be called colloquially, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors will officially be renamed Scotiabank Arena in July, 2018.
Replacing the current Air Canada Centre was a no-brainer, according to one of the members of the negotiating team, even if the new arena gets an informal name amongst fans. The current building is often referred to simply as the "ACC" or even "the hangar" in reference to its corporate partners.
“That may happen in some of the print media, or some of the digital media, but not on broadcast, because you can’t call it "The Vault" when it actually says Scotiabank Arena, both on the rink boards, on the ice, on the rondelle,” Brian Cooper, President and CEO of MTKG Canada and a former Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment vice-president. told BNN in an interview on Wednesday. “There’s a great opportunity for branding there. A lot of thought went into the name.”
Scotiabank (BNS.TO) agreed to a 20-year deal reportedly worth $800-million to rebrand the Air Canada Centre as Scotiabank Arena. It marks the first arena’s first name change since it opened in 1999.
“It’s an iconic building with two of the largest fanbases in the country, [and] they’ll be associated with both the Leafs and the Raptors. It’s good business. It’s good to do business down there,” Cooper told BNN.
“It’s a Bay Street address in the biggest financial market in the country, so it makes a lot of sense.”
This is not Scotiabank’s first foray into arena sponsorship. The bank’s name currently precedes Calgary’s Saddledome and Halifax’s Metro Centre was rebranded as the Scotiabank Centre in 2014. Scotiabank also owned the sponsorship rights to the home of the Ottawa Senators before the arena in Kanata, Ont. was re-christened as Canadian Tire Centre in 2013.
Cooper compared the Toronto deal to the one struck in 2010 that gave JPMorgan Chase branding rights to the interiors of New York’s Madison Square Garden, home of the National Hockey League’s Rangers and the National Basketball Association’s Knicks. That deal was reportedly worth US$30 million per year over a maximum of 10 years and did not include an official change to the arena’s name.
Madison Square Garden is the lone venue across the NHL and NBA to not have an outward corporate sponsor. Several venues in the National Football Legaue and Major League Baseball remain without corporate branding, including Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium and Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc.
By those metrics, Cooper argues, this deal is a good one for Scotia.
“We think, seven years [later] that if you look at net present value and the increase that has happened in the value of venue naming over that time, that we’ve got a good deal,” he said.
“We were not the only financial institution or corporation at the table. This is much sought-after and it only happens every 20 years.”