Facility sponsorship recommended

Naming rights sponsor sought for Greater Vernon Sports Facility

The call for sponsors for Greater Vernon’s newest sports facility has gone out.

Greater Vernon Advisory Committee directors, on Thursday, voted unanimously to recommend to the Regional  District of North Okanagan that staff be directed to develop and proceed with a request for proposals that seeks a naming rights sponsor for the synthetic turf field at, what is now known, as the Greater Vernon Sports Facility at Okanagan College.

“It’s starting to look like what it’s going to be looking like,” said Tannis Nelson, RDNO’s community coordinator. “It’s now a product we can start talking about to the community as an opportunity for some sponsorship.”

The facility, which features the synthetic turf field, lights, change room facilities and a rubberized oval track, is slated to open near the end of spring.

What the regional district would like to see, after discussions with the facility’s construction management committee, is retaining and respecting Greater Vernon’s contribution and role in acquiring the facility through a successful referendum.

“A lot of communities allow the name to be sold for the facility itself, taking a key feature within the facility, in this case, the turf field, and you assign it as the sponsorship name,” said Nelson, using the example ‘ABC Company at Greater Vernon Athletics Park.’

Nelson made it clear that seeking sponsorship is different than receiving a donation.

“It’s a reciprocal partnership,” she said. “Whereas a donation is simply philanthropy, a sponsorship agreement sees each party walk out ahead. We’re working toward providing some value to the partner we enter an agreement with.”

Electoral Area C director Mike Macnabb wants the agreement to come with a long-term committment.

“It seems to me, if you keep changing the name on a regular basis, it loses something,” said Macnabb, using Kal Tire Place as an example. The facility opened as The Multiplex, then became Wesbild Centre before Kal Tire took over the naming rights.

“It should have longevity and committment to  it.”

Nelson agreed.

“We see the financial contribution and term (of the agreement) as significant pieces,” she said. “The longer partnerships are beneficial for everyone.”

The requests for proposals plans to use such criteria as financial structure, term of proposal, exclusivity requests, facility enhancement, marketing initiatives and the financial stability of the corporate partner.