There has been a shakeup in Toronto, where the Air Canada Centre will be rechristened Scotiabank Arena, effective July, 2018. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) and Scotiabank announced their new naming rights agreement on Tuesday.
Opening in 1999 as the home of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the venue had been known as the Air Canada Centre throughout its history. That will change beginning next summer, when Scotiabank’s 20-year sponsorship agreement for the arena begins.
Interest from prospective naming rights partners was apparently high, and the agreement between MLSE and Scotiabank has been reported as being lucrative. Specifcally, the terms being reported state that the deal is worth around $800 million (Canadian). More from TSN:
The agreement is worth about $800 million (Canadian), according to three sources familiar with the matter. Under MLSE’s previous agreement with Air Canada, struck in 1999, the airline paid about $4 million per year.
The agreement with Scotiabank, which will see the downtown Toronto arena renamed the Scotiabank Arena next July 1, is believed to be the highest-priced annual building and team sponsorship in North American sports history.
David Hopkinson, MLSE’s chief commercial officer, said in an interview that he received serious offers for the arena naming rights from eight companies.
“To be honest, it wasn’t that difficult to find interested suitors,” Hopkinson said. “This is already firmly established as Canada’s premier entertainment venue… We felt we had a very good sense about what the market would bear and Scotia and ourselves have agreed on what that number should look like.”
Scotiabank has an established presence among NHL arenas, as it has been the naming rights partner for the Calgary Flames’ Scotiabank Saddledome since 2010. This agreement also marks another recent change when it comes to naming rights deals for NBA and NHL venues. Earlier this month, it was announced that home of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals would become Capital One Arena as the result of a new naming rights agreement.