Toronto-based ownership group Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) has agreed a 20-year stadium naming rights deal with Scotiabank worth a reported CAN$800 million (US$639 million).
The lucrative sponsorship agreement will see Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, home of the Maple Leafs ice hockey team and the Raptors basketball franchise, renamed the Scotiabank Arena when it takes effect on 1st July 2018.
Air Canada has held the naming rights to the downtown venue, which also houses the Toronto Rock of Major League Lacrosse (MLL), since it opened in February 1999, paying a reported CAN$4 million per year under the terms of its initial 20-year deal.
Reports in Canada say as many as eight companies expressed an interest in acquiring the naming rights, while TSN reports that the deal, which averages just under US$32 million per year, is ‘believed to be the highest-priced annual building and team sponsorship in North American sports history.’
Scotiabank, a financial services company, is a longstanding partner of the National Hockey League (NHL), is the official banking partner of the Maple Leafs, and also supports numerous community ice hockey initiatives throughout Canada. It also holds the naming rights to the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary and the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
“For the past 18 years, Air Canada Centre has not only been home to the Maple Leafs and Raptors, it has also hosted hundreds of the most popular concerts and events in the industry, helping contribute to Toronto’s well-deserved reputation as one of the top sports and entertainment destinations in the world,” said Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of the board for MLSE.
“We are grateful to Scotiabank for their continued support and this expanded partnership as we look ahead to what we expect to be 20 of the most exciting years in Toronto sports and entertainment history.”
Under the deal, MLSE and Scotiabank will also collaborate on creating something called the MLSE Incubator at the Scotiabank Digital Factory, 'a digital centre of excellence to help drive fan and customer engagement programmes.'
Though Air Canada will step aside for Scotiabank at Toronto's largest sports and entertainment arena, the company will maintain ties with MLSE as the official airline partner of both the Maple Leafs and Raptors. TSN reports that deal will run for the next eight years.