A stadium by any other name

By Chris Thomson | posted on June 21, 2018

CENTENNIAL STADIUM will no longer be known by that name if moves to sell the naming rights to Albany’s main football venue for at least $50,000 a year succeed.

In The Weekender, the City of Albany has sought proposals by 2pm on June 28 to buy the stadium’s naming rights.

The City says the sale is “a significant opportunity for a suitable organisation to grow their brand and marketing reach throughout Albany and the wider Great Southern region”.

The City asserts the arrangement would suit “an iconic national or Western Australian brand”, an outfit already established in the Great

Southern and wishing to grow its market share, one new to the region, one wishing to demonstrate its commitment to regional Australia, or one wishing to reinforce a “bricks and mortar brand position”.

A minimum $50,000-a-year deal over three years, with a right to renew for three years, is also on the cards.

President of the Albany Ratepayers and Residents Association Elizabeth Barton said rebranding the stadium with a corporate name disrespected the area’s rich sporting history.

She said the name ‘Albany Oval’ would be preferable to any corporate moniker.

“What?! $50,000-a-year?” she said when told of the minimum price sought.

“You’ve got to be kidding.

“This is Albany, not Perth.”

Asked if the venue could be re-badged ‘Albany Stadium’ to promote Albany to tourists and investors, City Executive Director Corporate Services Michael Cole said the City had “made a substantial investment into the construction of the stadium and welcomes opportunities for public-private partnerships that will contribute to the ongoing sustainability of the facility and increase return on investment for ratepayers”.

Mr Cole said the deal was only for the stadium building, which would remain part of the Centennial Park Sporting Precinct.

Asked if the City’s Buy Local policy would apply to the arrangement, Mr Cole said the City would “look favourably” at a bid from a local group.

“In the absence of any suitable local or regional organisations wishing to take on the sponsorship, organisations that are from outside of the region will still be considered,” he added.

A glossy nine-page brochure explains that large signs featuring the successful tenderer’s brand will be erected on the stadium building.

Other benefits include the name of the brand on event tickets and advertising signs around the oval and scoreboard.

The successful tenderer will be offered free use of meeting rooms up to five times a year, the main hall twice a year, and the oval.

Further inducements include tickets to City of Albany events at the oval, two free adult memberships for the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre, and 10 free passes to the National Anzac Centre.

Asked whether the option of retaining the words ‘Centennial Stadium’ in a sponsored name had been considered, Mr Cole said, “The words used in the venue name will be based on the ability to deliver the appropriate level of brand recognition in line with the investment being made by the sponsor, subject to required selection criteria and sponsorship policy guidelines”.

He said the City “currently” had no plans to sell the naming rights of other venues.