ESTEVAN - The venue that plays host to hockey games, concerts, community events and other functions in Estevan will be known as Affinity Place for at least three more seasons.
The City of Estevan and Affinity Credit Union have agreed to a contract for the naming rights to the event centre. Affinity will pay $50,000 per year to have their name attached to the building.
Cecilia Zerr, a communications manager with Affinity Credit Union, said they understand how important local sports and entertainment are in Saskatchewan.
“They’re the hub. They’re where people go. We looked to Affinity Place, and reviewing the agreement and all of the different types of events that they’ve attracted over the past decade, not to mention the walking track that brings people together, we know that builds a strong community. It just really made sense that it’s something we need to continue to do.”
Among the coming events for Affinity is the 2022 Centennial Cup national Junior A hockey Championship, presented by Tim Hortons.
“When we were talking to them, and they were mentioning all of these different events that they’ve held and that they’re looking to hold, we couldn’t get over how the city has managed to book some world-class events that not only attract people from the southeast corner of the province, but far beyond,” said Zerr.
The 2022 Centennial Cup was the “icing on the cake,” she said, and Affinity Credit Union is confident the event will be phenomenal, that Estevan will do a great job as host, and that people will come from throughout the country.
She’s not surprised with the number of events Estevan has held since Affinity Place opened in 2011.
City clerk Judy Pilloud said it was nice to have the naming rights for the facility taken care of.
“It’s excellent that people are willing to come forward in these economic hard times,” said Pilloud.
The city has been looking for five-year commitments when trying to sell the latest round of naming rights and sponsorships. When Affinity Place opened in 2011, the commitments were for 10 years.
“The reason we shortened the terms was to hopefully allow people to continue on with some of their sponsorships. We didn’t raise any prices because we didn’t feel that we could do that and successfully sell the sponsorships,” said Pilloud.
She also noted a lot of businesses that purchased amenities and naming rights at Affinity and other areas of the Estevan Leisure Centre have since been sold.
“Trying to keep everybody straight with name changes and corporate takeovers and such, it was really getting difficult with who owns this,” Pilloud said. “We thought that if we shortened the terms, it might make it just a little bit easier.”
The building was named Spectra Place when it opened in the spring of 2011, but was renamed after Spectra Credit Union amalgamated with Affinity Credit Union in 2013.
Pilloud said the city looks forward to continuing to work with Affinity, and she’s glad the financial institution stepped up, because it might have been hard to find a corporate sponsor.
Zerr said the city has been a great partner to work with, with Pilloud, city manager Jeff Ward and Mayor Roy Ludwig providing Affinity with the information they needed to make an educated decision on the renewal.
“When we talking to them this year, it was no different, it was a great experience,” said Zerr.
Affinity has naming rights in other areas of the province, but it hasn’t renewed any others in the past 18 months.
As for the other amenities in the arena, the 24 corporate boxes have been sold as well. Most of the boxes were renewed, and those that were available were sold in an auction during the summer.
“The corporate boxes have always been a highly sought after sponsorship. People like being in those boxes,” said Pilloud.
There won’t be a wait list for the boxes like there was previously.
Some of the sections and one of the players’ boxes have also been renewed.
“The marketing team’s been working to try and sell more things and they are reaching out to existing holders, plus are looking at new business to try and get the sponsorships sold,” said Pilloud.
The naming rights to other amenities are available, including the score clock, penalty box, sections, the Zamboni room, the front entrance area and the lounge.
Also available are sites within the Estevan Leisure Centre, including the swimming pool, Estevan Public Library, the tennis courts, weight room and multipurpose room.
Power Dodge has renewed its commitment to the city’s secondary arena, and it will be known as the Power Dodge Arena.
Money from the sale of naming rights will go to the cost of operating the facilities.