SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Downtown Sacramento’s aging convention center could soon bear the name of a major sponsor, for the right price.
“We have every opportunity to reach out locally and nationally to get real money for the naming rights to our convention center,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg
Steinberg is trying to get at least $20 million for a naming rights deal, that would help pay for the convention center’s estimated $200 million expansion project.
“The companies get exposure. If you look at the Golden 1 Center, you’re getting the Kings game’s sponsorship. With the convention center you’re getting all the meetings, the home and reptile shows— but the conventions throughout the year too,” said COO of Visit Sacramento Mike Testa.
Mike Testa with Visit Sacramento, which is not affiliated with the convention center, believes bidders will be lining up for the deal.
“This market is changing and maturing, and that attracts development dollars,” he said.
The city is borrowing a strategy from the sports world- auctioning off a name to the company with the deepest pockets.
Golden 1 Credit Union is paying the Sacramento Kings $120 million over 20 years for the naming rights of the team’s home. That dwarfs what the Arco Gas Company paid for the naming rights of team’s old home in Natomas 30 years ago—$20 million over 20 years.
The Arco deal was the first for a sports arena in the world. That move drew controversy then, and it still does when it comes to the current convention center debate.
“I think it belongs to the city; I’m not really in favor of this name sponsorship,” said Brian Lavender of Sacramento.
Critics may prefer to stay original, but officials maintain that replacing a name can reinvigorate the city and its bottom line.
“That’s money that will be freed—that we can then free up to spend on the other investments in Sacramento that are going to draw more people here,” said Steinberg.