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Naples Daily News (Florida)
Shakespeare famously asked, "What's in a name?"
A lot of money, apparently.
Collier County commissioners on Tuesday approved a contract for $150,000 — an amount that could grow significantly over five years — with the Superlative Group of Cleveland to market naming rights for county facilities.
The initial emphasis will be on selling the naming rights to the new amateur sports complex being built off Collier Boulevard near Interstate 75.
But Superlative's work could extend to other county properties as well.
Superlative claims to have generated more than $2 billion in naming rights and sponsorship agreements over the past 20 years.
According to its website, clients include the Cleveland Indians; the Cincinnati Reds; Miami-Dade County; London's Heathrow Airport; Denver; and Cook County, Illinois.
Successful efforts range from selling the naming rights to the Reds' downtown stadium to Great American Insurance, resulting in the Great American Ballpark, to securing Hulu as the sponsor for a bike sharing program in Santa Monica, Calif. Two of the company's principals have second homes in Collier County, according to its proposal.
Getting sponsors for things such as the sports complex is a sophisticated undertaking, Superlative says.
"Gone are the days of buying signage and some tickets. The value of sponsorship is continually changing," the company website explains.
As part of its contract, Superlative will look at county assets and recommend which ones might be attractive to sponsors. It will attempt to quantify the value of those sponsorships and present them to interested companies.
If successful, the company will collect a 15 percent commission in addition to the initial contract amount of $150,000. The contract is for five years.
Topping the list of potentially attractive assets is the amateur sports complex. In an earlier incarnation, when the sports complex was envisioned as a spring training home for the Atlanta Braves, county staff estimated naming rights could bring in $300,000 annually. The figure would likely be lower without a high-profile tenant like the Braves, but naming rights still could generate significant revenue, county staff believe.
"The process of naming rights has been an accepted way to generate funding for various types of facilities for many years," Collier tourism director Jack Wert said.
"Sports complexes and municipal holdings are well-documented examples of the power of naming rights to generate large sums of funding for 10 or more years at a time," he said.
Wert said more than one element of the sports complex may garner naming rights revenue. For instance, the main field and stadium may have one sponsor, the multi-purpose fields another, the scoreboards another and the beverage rights another.
"We think it will be a number of companies involved," Wert said. "That seems to be the trend."
He expects information to begin firming up in about six months but that it could be two years before rights are finalized.
"It's a lengthy process," Wert said.
The sports complex is expected to open in a little more than a year.
Superlative will look at other county assets for potential sponsorships, Wert said. The Sun N' Fun Lagoon water park in North Naples is one example.
Just a suggestion: The Morgan and Morgan Sun N' Fun Lagoon Water Park. In case someone gets hurt on a slide and needs legal representation.
Or the Cessna Marco Island Executive Jetport.
How about the Purina Monkey Chow Zoo?
The Home Depot Hurricane Preparedness Division?
The History Channel Museum?
Naples might want to get in on the action. The Bass Pro Shops Fishing Pier.
The county probably should shy away from some potential sponsorships. A few come to mind:
â(EURO)¢ The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys Jail.
â(EURO)¢ The Independent Funeral Directors of Florida Medical Examiners Office.
â(EURO)¢ The Febreze Wastewater Treatment Plant.
â(EURO)¢ The Odor Eaters Landfill.
Again, drawing on Shakespeare, a mound of trash by any other name would smell just as bad.
Connect with Brent Batten at email@example.com, on Twitter @NDN_BrentBatten and at facebook.com/ndnbrentbatten.
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