Jacksonville, FL - The City of Jacksonville thinks naming rights to the Veterans Memorial Arena and the Baseball Grounds could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“I’m not sure why we’re never done it in the past,” says Jacksonville’s Sports and Entertainment Executive Director Alan Verlander.
It’s an idea that was put under the microscope the past week as part of discussions over funding improvements to EverBank Field. Jacksonville’s City Council and the Council Auditor were concerned the money the city planned to use to pay down a long term $43 million loan for their portion of the renovations was already spoken for.
The City will use a “bed tax” which already funds maintenance at the sports complex. They were put at ease for tying up that money for a few reasons- including Verlander’s pledge that they’re making a new effort to bring in this revenue that hasn’t been seen before.
“If you look at those types of facilities around the country that may have a minor league baseball team or may not have a tenant in the Arena- some of those still have naming rights,” he says.
He says they don’t expect naming rights for the Arena or Grounds would amount to the same revenue as EverBank Field, but it could still provide a good supplement for any needs the complex may have.
“We’ve realized this is a missing component,” Verlander says.
The concerns about maintenance costs at the Arena and the Grounds were also lightened because of the substantial recent renovations and improvements those venues have recently seen. The City says those venues are basically “ahead of the curb”, and shouldn’t have any substantial needs in the near future where the bulk of this loan will be paid off.
Verlander says his team is starting with local businesses who may want to have a bigger regional or even national footprint. He says the events that are coming, especially to the Arena, help that sell.
“We have a lot of concerts, in a couple of years we have the NCAA Basketball Tournament coming back,” he says.
It’s an effort that’s really only just beginning, with Verlander telling me it was made clear as part of the discussion on EverBank improvements that this would help that final approval. He says if they don’t catch any interest regionally, they’re not against taking it to a larger stage.