Vancouver could sell naming rights to parks, public assets to boost revenues

Could Vancouver one day be home to Rogers Stanley Park? How about the RBC Burrard Bridge or the Telus Aquatic Centre?

It’s a future that’s not completely outside the realm of possibility, as the City of Vancouver directs staff to work on ways to sell naming rights to parks and public assets.

The city announced a similar sponsorship deal with Freedom Mobile last week, which will see the wireless carrier take naming rights to a new PNE Amphitheatre for 10 years.

Click to play video: 'Naming partner announced for new PNE amphitheatre'

Naming partner announced for new PNE amphitheatre

“We have an initiative at city hall, we have over 250 parks and literally hundreds of buildings that are all looking for naming sponsors,” Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said at the Friday announcement.

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Vancouver City Coun. Brian Montague said selling sponsorship was a creative way the city could begin to address a $500 million infrastructure deficit without “constantly dipping into the pockets of taxpayers.”

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Council approved a 7.5-per cent property tax hike in 2024, on the heels of a 10.7 per cent hike for 2023.

“There’s no limits to what could happen with the money,” Montague said.

“We want to thoughtfully go about this process, but potentially we could be looking at hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on how big the project, how big the expansion, or how we look at this opportunity.”

A City of Vancouver staff report in September 2023 was more cautious in its optimism about how much cash sponsorship could add to the city budget, estimating revenue of up to $500,000 per year.

Click to play video: 'Mayor’s Budget Task Force presents final report to Vancouver council'

Mayor’s Budget Task Force presents final report to Vancouver council

“As further opportunities emerge, additional revenue may be added to the operating budget through the year,” the report added.

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It is not the first time the concept has been floated in Vancouver in recent months.

The volunteer Mayor’s Budget Task Force Sim convened in 2023 included a recommendation to “generate revenues by selling naming rights and running sponsorship campaigns for various City assets” among its conclusions.

The ‘Think Big’ strategy endorsed by the Vancouver Park Board in 2023 also lists event sponsorship and naming right sales as a high priority, with a “high” potential to generate revenue.

The city has yet to release any parameters about what types of parks or facilities could be considered for the program.

Monague, however, said the city would be screening potential sponsors to ensure they were appropriate for the city.

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