Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Naming Rights to County Parks, Bridges Could Be Sold

An Allegheny County Councilman wants to give corporations the opportunity to buy naming rights for some county property, a deal he says could yield millions of dollars.

The legislation from Councilman Ed Kress has two parts: first, to order an evaluation of the assets whose naming rights could be sold; and second, to create a “Department of Alternative Revenue” in the county administration to broker the deals.

Kress says those measures would be similar to actions taken by the City of San Diego when they started selling naming rights in 1999. He says since then, San Diego has generated about $20 million in revenue from naming rights.

The at-large Councilman says for example, Pepsi could be the sponsor of Allegheny County’s nine parks.

“The way the agreement probably would work is that they’d be [able] to direct market in all the parks, so only Pepsi products would be sold at the parks,” says Kress. “It’s a win situation for the county because we’re bringing in revenue from another company, another source, but it’s a win for the company that pays the money because they’re going to generate more profit.”

He says he doesn’t think the county would be inundated with too many corporate names, because companies could opt to sponsor the naming of a park or bridge after an individual. He says they might also name the asset for a phrase associated with their company (for example, he says, McDonalds could name the “Golden Arches Bridge”).

The Councilman recently introduced a similar bill to sell naming rights for county bridges.

Kress says the county has a “revenue problem” that he is trying to fix through a voluntary payment system, rather than through raising property taxes.

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