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Air Canada Centre changing name to Scotiabank Arena next summer

CHRIS JOHNSTON, SPORTSNET | posted Wednesday, Aug 30th, 2017

The home of the Maple Leafs and Raptors is getting a new name.

Air Canada Centre will become Scotiabank Arena when a 20-year agreement between the bank and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment takes effect next July 1.

“It will be a change,” said Dave Hopkinson, MLSE’s chief commercial officer. “It will be a change to the landscape of Toronto.”

The building has only had one moniker since opening its doors in 1999. The sides declined to reveal the financial aspects of their agreement, but it’s safe to assume its worth astronomically more than the $30-million Air Canada paid on the original 20-year deal.

Recent naming rights for Citi Field in New York and Barclays Center in Brooklyn sold for $20-million per year, according to a report in the New York Times.

Scotiabank has deep ties in hockey. In addition to being a longtime NHL partner, the bank has naming rights to Scotiabank Hometown Hockey, Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey, Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada and the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

They’ve also had a prior relationship with the Leafs and jumped at the opportunity to expand their arrangement.

“There’s obviously the brand value of just the consumer being aware of it,” said John Doig, Scotiabank’s vice-president and chief marketing officer. “But where it really makes a difference for us is when we earn our way into the activation and relevance. We don’t sell hockey sticks and skates so as a bank we have to be making sure every day that we’re working very hard to be relevant.

“It has to be way more than a name on the side of the building; this can’t be a logo at centre ice and nothing else around it in the community.”

Several companies expressed interest in acquiring the naming rights from MLSE, but Scotiabank had provisions in its deal to take priority if they ever became available.

The building will continue to be known as Air Canada Centre throughout the coming NHL and NBA seasons.


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