The B.C. government has approved a plan to seek bids for the naming rights to B.C. Place, looking to restart a plan by the previous B.C. government that led to a deal with Telus Corp. for the downtown Vancouver landmark being scuttled.
“This naming rights sponsorship opportunity will make more funds available for government to improve the services that British Columbians count on,” Tourism Minister Lisa Beare said Monday.
BC Place naming rights were almost sold in 2012, but a $40 million deal with Telus was abruptly scrapped by then-tourism minister Pat Bell. When questioned about the decision, which left the telecommunications company preparing plans and signs to rebrand the domed stadium, Bell said he considered the name B.C. Place to be “iconic” and worthy of preserving.
The costly renovation and retractable roof have been a political target for years, and the revenue from a naming deal is attractive again.
“B.C. Place is a vibrant, world-class facility, and is one of only a few venues of this size and profile in North America yet to capitalize on this valuable type of revenue opportunity,” said Ian Aikenhead, chair of The B.C. Pavilion Corporation, the provincial Crown agency that was set up for Expo 86.
B.C. Place was last in the news when the NDP government pulled out a joint North American bid for the 2026 World Cup of soccer, citing unknown upgrade costs that could include a natural grass field.
Premier John Horgan said in June 2018 he wasn’t prepared to sign a “blank cheque” for FIFA, the international soccer governing body.
In addition to serving as home field for the B.C. Lions football team and Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer, B.C. Place hosts Canada Sevens rugby, concerts and trade shows.
Organizations have until May 15 to submit bids for the naming rights on BC Bid, the province’s facility for public sector contract offers.