© Geraldine Brophy
The city recently issued a request for proposals from companies and individuals interested in naming rights to the Pepsi Centre facility when the current agreement expires in Feb. 2014.
CORNER BROOK — Mayor Neville Greeley said the Pepsi Centre will be like an unrestricted free agent when the current contract on naming rights for the facility ends in February 2014.
The City of Corner Brook and Browning Harvey signed a 10-year deal in February 2004 that saw the beverage company acquire naming rights to the city’s sports, meeting and convention facility. That deal resulted in the building formerly known as the Canada Games Centre and the adjacent annex being named the Pepsi Centre and Pepsi Studio.
The $500,000 deal also gave the company exclusive rights when it came to the provision of non-alcoholic beverages at the centre. Under the deal the company provides $50,000 per year and that money is used to offset the operating cost of the Memorial University-run facility under Western Sports and Entertainment. The city currently subsidizes the facility to the tune of $850,000 a year.
Saturday, the city issued a request for proposals from companies and individuals interested in naming rights to the facility when the current agreement expires.
Greeley said the city has been quite happy with the arrangement with Browning Harvey and the request for proposals is in no way an indication of anything different.
“We’re just going to market again,” the mayor said Tuesday. “Places change names and in today’s world there’s a price that companies are willing to pay to have their name associated with large venues and that’s the nature of the beast.”
He said the city doesn’t have a set dollar value on what it would like to see in a new contract.
“We left it open to the market, let the market decide,” said Greeley. “Clearly we’d certainly be looking to do as well as, if not better, than the previous agreement.”
Greeley said any corporation, or individual, who is interested is welcome to submit a proposal and all those received will be considered.
“The company that comes forward with the most money may not necessarily be the one that gets chosen,” said Greeley. “You could have a strong community minded company that’s very supportive of what’s going on in the community from a cultural perspective, from a sporting perspective, from a financial perspective, and their bid might be somewhat lower than a larger firm that has no history in the community.”
No contact with Browning Harvey
Greeley said he hasn’t had any contact with Browning Harvey on whether or not the beverage company is interested in maintaining naming rights at the facility.
“I would assume they will be in the mix just the same as any other company out there that might be interested in associating its name with the centre.”
He also said it isn’t known right now how a new deal would impact Browning Harvey’s exclusive right on the provision of non-alcoholic beverages at the centre.
“That may very well change,” said the mayor. “It all depends on what type of proposal ultimately gets negotiated. For example you could have a company that obviously doesn’t produce beverages, but they might end up striking a side deal with one of the beverage producers.”
When the agreement with Browning Harvey was signed just over nine years ago it was not without opposition from people who felt the city gave up the legacy generated by the 1999 Canada Winter Games.
Greeley was a councillor at the time the agreement was signed and supported the deal.
“I know that it met with some opposition, but at the end of the day council then made a decision that was in the best long-term interest for the city and city residents and this council will do no different.”
Interested parties have until Sept. 17 to submit a proposal for naming rights.
“Once we receive the proposals from the different corporations that are interested we’ll select one to negotiate with and we’ll move forward from there.”