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Your name here: rink rights for sale

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The name of the Park City Ice Arena remains just that.

A year after the Quinn’s Junction ice-skating rink debuted, funded partially by bonds approved by voters in Park City and the Snyderville Basin, City Hall acknowledges that it has been unable to sell the naming rights to the facility.

The city had hoped to recoup at least $800,000 by allowing someone, potentially a corporate interest, to name the arena, a strategy used by the builders of scores of sports facilities, professional and amateur.

Stacey Noonan, the general manager of the sports complex, though, remains optimistic that the naming rights will be sold. She says she expects an individual or a local corporate sponsor will be tapped.

"We’re not going to be the Budweiser Center," Noonan says, describing the intention to avoid alcohol or cigarette companies as naming sponsors.

She says she is unsure when a deal will be finalized but plans to start discussions with a marketing firm within a few weeks.

The construction cost $800,000 more than the $4 million voters in the city and the Basin authorized in separate bond measures. The decision to sell the naming rights was made without controversy.

Noonan hopes to bring in between $800,000 and $1 million.

Meanwhile, officials recently decided to keep the ice rink open for a longer season, starting later in 2007. In its debut year, the ice rink operated for a nine-month season.

The Park City Council agreed to extend the season by one month. The arena is scheduled to be closed in May and June. Noonan wants the season made longer, perhaps all year, within a few years.

Before the bonds passed, officials saw an ice rink as something that would be popular with Parkites and visitors and said it was unusual for a winter-sports destination not to have an indoor rink.

Since it opened, the rink has performed well financially and revenues are as forecast, about $300,000 in the current fiscal year, which ends in June, Noonan reports. She says admissions are expected to bring in $75,000, rink rentals another $60,000 and hockey leagues and programs $60,000. Other estimates are $40,000 in so-called ‘learn-to’ programs, $35,000 in concessions, retailer sales and advertising and $35,000 in skate rentals.

Noonan reports off-ice events at the rink remain under consideration and the managers plan to purchase a covering for the rink that would allow those events. That could occur within two months, Noonan says.

Some off-ice events could include a bowling tournament in which the organizers set up temporary lanes and skateboarding sessions that would feature ramps and other obstacles, Noonan says.

Noonan says, though, the type of off-ice events is regulated by restrictions on the land where the ice rink is built, which, she says, limit the opportunities there to recreational and educational activities.

"When we come up with an idea, we have to run it by our Legal Department," she says.


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