City council has approved the Sponsorship and Naming Rights Policy, which according to city documents will, 'provide a pathway for the City to generate additional revenue while safeguarding the City’s image, values and interests.'

City documents outlined that there are three major community infrastructure projects, including the [new] library and multi-use facility, artificial turf at Genesis Place, and the Southwest recreation facility that would benefit from the policy.

"This policy is necessary to provide high-level principles for Administration to utilize, and for sponsors to understand, before considering a potential sponsorship arrangement. It also clearly defines the roles of Council and Administration as it relates to which facilities or assets are available to be sponsored and how they are valued and sold," documents underlined. 

Brad Anderson, Manager of Genesis Place & Arenas told council on Monday that sponsorship is a tool in which the municipality allows a brand to receive exposure through naming or facility prominence in return for dollars back to the municipality for its use.

"In Airdrie, outside of any formalized policy or framework, sponsorship has played a significant role in raising capital funding, most notably within Genesis Place throughout the three phases of construction, through a not-for-profit led society from 2004 to 2014," he said. 

According to Anderson, sponsorship campaigns and opportunities funnelled millions of dollars to the city through the naming of the overall recreation facility and sponsorship of a variety of playing areas and spaces.

"No sponsorship framework or policy existed during that time, and the city leaned heavily on community leaders and volunteers to represent the city's interests and negotiate directly both in dollar amounts and in contract language was sponsoring individuals and organizations."

City documents also stated that as of 2024, all the sponsorship terms at Genesis Place have expired except for the overall naming rights of the facility.

"Dedicated resources have not been assigned to the work of renewal and have only responded in an ad-hoc manner... The only active sponsorship opportunities that exist are found in the arenas in the form of rink/wall boards and other small activations."

Anderson stressed that the goal of the policy would be to complement other policies that already exist.

"...that oversee naming which includes the street naming policy, memorial policy and the naming of city assets policy, whereby the city is named naming based on contributions from an individual or group instead of a paid sponsorship agreement," Anderson said. "Just because we would look to sponsor components within the Ron Ebbesen Arena does not mean that the overall name would be up for sale."

The goal would be that sponsorship would focus on the aspects not currently named within a facility. Other City-owned assets and City facilities that are available to be sponsored in the new policy include:

  • Genesis Place – including Ed Eggerer Athletic Park
  • Ron Ebbesen Arena
  • Plainsmen Arena

"If a name already exists, either through a sponsorship term or other naming policy, it would not be sold just because it appears on this list. Only those areas and facilities outside of a term would be available to be sold," Anderson added. 

Deputy Mayor Al Jones asked why there were no soccer fields on the list, to which Anderson said that the idea is to first prioritize high-value and high-return investments that are of timely importance to council.

"I think it allows us to go through that process and learn through the sponsorship sales agency and then look at it in terms of the priority of facilities and also the expected return on the investment. That's why we're focused on those facilities today."

Council ultimately decided to also include an amendment to the policy, which would allow the appendix to be updated as availability and assessments are made on other assets - which could include soccer fields and baseball diamonds.

Councillor Tina Petrow queried Anderson with regards to how the policy could impact the new Multi-use Facility and Library.  

"There is no way for us to influence what the library is doing to sponsor within their zones, nor do they have the ability to control who we're going out and naming as well," Anderson clarified. "[This policy] has no jurisdiction in terms of what other organizations leases are doing within their own space. No different than at Genesis Place; we have Airdrie Edge Gymnastics and they get tons and tons of sponsors and tons of donors that sponsor their programs and their services and their spaces."

Although Councillor Heather Spearman said she would have liked to also have seen Bert Church LIVE Theatre incorporated into the conversation, she did ultimately support the decision.

With the policy set in place, city documents concluded that The City will engage with Procurement and Legislative Services to ensure transparency in posting opportunities and on the sponsorship contract agreement templates. 

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