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Arena Marquee Open to Sponsors--for a Fee

TIMES STAFF WRITER

When the new sports arena opens here in two years, developers say the complex will almost certainly be named for the city and a corporate sponsor willing to ante up between $750,000 to $1 million a year for a share of the marquee.

“It’s the city that has made this happen,” said Brad Mayne, project coordinator for Ogden Entertainment, a partner in the arena project. “It’s in their city; it’s on their land. Everyone feels that it’s important to keep that continuity when naming it.”

Within the next few months, Mayne said, a list of half a dozen potential corporate sponsors will be compiled before formal presentations are made to a company interested in leasing a share of the $100-million structure’s identity.

The practice of leasing rights to the names of sports arenas has become common in recent years. For example, America West Airlines in 1990 agreed to pay $550,000 a year for 30 years for the right to attach its name to a new arena under construction in Phoenix.

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As part of the sponsorship agreement, a city official said, the airline plans to place its corporate logo on the roof so that it can be visible to air traffic flying in and out of the city. The arena, located in the airport’s flight pattern, could be open by next May.

In Anaheim’s case, Mayne said that proceeds from the leased name, which could run more than $1 million a year, would go toward defraying operating expenses.

For the money, Mayne said, the sponsor would get a share of the building’s name and recognition inside, possibly in the form of identifying various seating areas in a corporate theme.

“The name of the sponsor will not be in neon lights,” he said. “We are going to be careful to make sure it is tastefully done.”

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According to the partnership agreement, selection of a corporate sponsor must meet the approval of city government officials, Mayne said.

Project officials are also interested in securing a local sponsor to further solidify its geographic identity, he said, adding that it was too early to comment on which corporations would be included on its sponsor list.

Construction of the 19,200-seat arena is scheduled for completion in the fall of 1993. Work is going forward even though professional basketball and hockey franchises--expected to be major tenants for the arena--have yet to be secured.

Mayne said work is also going forward on the marketing of the arena’s 82 luxury suites. Part of the marketing effort, he said, might involve constructing a model suite at Anaheim Stadium where prospective buyers could be entertained during live sporting events.

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He said he was working to obtain approval from the city and the California Angels to build the model so that it could be open by next baseball season.


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