CHL Ownership and Naming Rights

July 23, 2014

 

The following is an excerpt from a longer post that can be found on both Trojan360 (http://www.trojan360.com/chl-ownership-and-naming-rights/) and the Canadian Sponsorship Forum (http://www.canadiansponsorshipforum.com/chl-ownership-and-naming-rights/#.U8200o2VmJW).


In the wake of the announcement that the Halifax Metro Centre (home of the CHL’s Halifax Mooseheads) had sold its arena-naming rights to Scotiabank for $6.5 million over 10 years, I became curious as to what the ownership and naming rights situation was for other CHL teams. The following are a summary of key findings:
Small Canadian Communities


Many CHL teams are located in small to mid-sized Canadian communities. The average CHL community has 180,000 residents. Without the three biggest CHL communities (Calgary, Ottawa, and Edmonton) this number shrinks to 130,000.
 

City-Owned Arenas

 

Most arenas (90%) in the CHL are owned by the city in which they are located. This is different from the major four sports leagues in North America (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) where private venue-ownership groups are much more prevalent.
No Naming Rights Deals

 

A great number (38.5%) of CHL arenas do not have a naming rights deal.
Smaller communities are less likely to have naming rights deals. 20 of the 52 CHL communities have less than 72,000 residents. 12 of these 20 communities (60%) do not have naming rights deals.


CHL venues without a naming rights deal are often named after a historical figure that impacted the community. Fans and community members attach special sentiment to their home arena and what the name of the arena represents.
This, and the fact that smaller communities present less opportunity to improve brand awareness may be perceived as obstacles that prevent sponsors from seeking naming rights in these communities


Financial Institutions Invest

 

Of the 32 CHL venues that do have naming rights sponsors, 60% are Financial Services industry organizations.


Naming rights allow financial institutions to gain brand loyalty by portraying themselves as being actively involved in the community.


Naming rights sponsorships also give these organizations valuable impressions that are key in driving brand awareness
 

 

Corporate Presence

 

Many sponsors that purchase naming rights for CHL venues have a corporate presence in the city or region of the venue.


By associating with CHL teams, sponsors are perceived as having a meaningful and positive effect, which allows them to further weave themselves into the fabric of the community


In all, CHL venues present sponsors with the opportunity to associate their brand with CHL teams that are important symbols in local Canadian communities. Over a third of CHL venues are still without naming rights. This presents an opportunity for sponsors, but what we have learned through research is that venue names often have special meaning to the community. With 90% of the venues being owned by the city, sponsors must be willing to offer enough as a partner, as to be seen as a key member of the community, as opposed to an intruding corporation.

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