Pond to Get a New Name

Times Staff Writers

Ducks on the Pond? No more.

The Ducks now play at the Honda Center, not the Arrowhead Pond. Honda agreed to pay $60 million over 15 years for the right to slap its name on the Anaheim arena, a source familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday.

The annual value of the deal, which includes advertising within the arena and on Ducks broadcasts, starts at $3.25 million and rises thereafter. If an NBA team moves into the arena, Honda would pay more.

Jeff Knapple, who negotiated the Staples Center naming-rights deal, said he represented another company that had discussions about replacing Arrowhead as the name atop the Pond. Knapple, president of WMG Marketing in Los Angeles, said he valued the Anaheim naming rights at between $2.25 million and $2.5 million annually, so long as no NBA team plays there.

Arrowhead held naming rights from the day the Pond opened in 1993 and, under its most recent deal, paid almost $2 million a year. Some fans might continue to call the arena "the Pond" no matter what Honda wants, just as some fans continued to call Angel Stadium "The Big A" after Edison bought naming rights to what it called Edison Field.

"There's a lot of equity built up in the Pond's name," Knapple said. "I'm not sure how Honda will immediately address that issue, but time will eventually take care of it."

Honda, with its North American headquarters in Torrance, has concentrated its sports marketing on auto racing, soccer and local events, including the Los Angeles Marathon and Acura Classic tennis tournament in Carlsbad. The Honda Center marks the first time the company has bought naming rights to a sports facility.

Honda spends about $19 million a year on U.S. sports, according to Jim Andrews, managing editor of the Chicago-based IEG Sponsorship Report. That figure does not rank the company among the nation's top 50 sports sponsors, he said.

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