I don't write as often as I used to because of my busy schedule, but every once in a while something comes along that really makes me scratch my head.
Just a few hours ago, David Reevely of the Ottawa Citizen wrote an article about the naming rights at Lansdowne Park.
Roger Greenberg of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group explained the reason they're now anticipating $50 million for naming rights is because it will include all parts of the development under OSEG's control. This means the stadium, arena, and retail.
David Reevely's article says, "...the Lansdowne name will be replaced completely on the part of the site controlled by Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group."
The example given by Greenberg is the OSEG-controlled spaces being called "Scotia Place". The article goes on to say the city-controlled parts of the development, including the urban park, Aberdeen Pavillion, and Horticulture Building, will retain the Lansdowne name.
Am I the only person that thinks this is very odd? In theory it works, but in execution it raises concerns.
My first concern is that the Friends of Lansdowne have been calling the retail space a shopping mall for years. Grouping the stadium and retail space under a name similar to "Scotia Place" would only make the Friends sound like they were on to something.
My second concern is whether this arrangement will confuse visitors.
If I understand this correctly, if I'm in front of the arena I'm in "Scotia Place", or whatever it's called, but if I cross the street to go the Aberdeen Pavillion I'm now in Lansdowne Park. Or if I'm standing in Aberdeen Square, home of the farmers' market, I'm in Lansdowne Park, but if I cross the street to the movie theatre I'm now in "Scotia Place".
Looking at the map of the whole development, if I'm walking in between the Horticulture Building and Building D, am I in Lansdowne Park or "Scotia Place", or both at the same time? It's just too confusing in my opinion because the buildings are so integrated.
It would be different if Lansdowne Park is considered just the urban park, but we're going to be in a situtation where two buildings will be side by side, within feet of each other, and one building will be considered a part of Lansdowne Park and the other not.
Another point of confusion is that they've been referring to it as a single space called Lansdowne Park throughout the four-year planning period. No matter what they call it, people will still refer to it as Lansdowne Park.
I'd prefer the model used by Exhibition Place in Toronto. The whole property is called Exhibition Place, but individual spaces within can do their own marketing, like the Liberty Grand entertainment complex, and naming rights can be sold for specific buildings, like Ricoh Coliseum, BMO Field, the Allstream Centre, and the Direct Energy Centre. Although all of these venues have their own websites, they also appear on the Exhibition Place website so you know they're all a part of the park.
I'm an entrepreneur at heart, and I'm a supporter of the OSEG plan, so I understand the need to maximize profits, but I'm confused already. I'd rather have the whole thing be called Lansdowne Park, but have "Scotia Place", or whatever it's called, be a component of Lansdowne.
But what do I know? I'm just a consumer.