The ice at the Chatham Memorial Arena. (CK News Today file photo)

Advertising pilot project could be coming to CK arenas

Some sports groups in Chatham-Kent could benefit from future advertising at municipal arenas if a two-year pilot project is approved by councillors at their meeting Monday night.

Administration is recommending a two-year trial period be implemented with the existing advertising service provider, Boardview Advertising, to maintain the existing advertising services at the 10 CK arenas with guaranteed revenues going to the municipality, while also providing the opportunity for user groups to financially benefit from revenue-sharing if they refer clients to Boardview Advertising.

A report, from Chatham-Kent's Manager of Parks and Recreation Ian Clark, stated arena user groups have expressed concern regarding the current arena advertising agreement because of the inability to leverage advertising opportunities within arenas for their fundraising benefit.

Clark also wrote the trial period will allow the municipality to better understand the challenges with the program and explore mitigation measures in the future.

"It is expected that only the existing organized minor associations, senior and junior clubs at Chatham-Kent arenas will be eligible to participate [in the new deal]," said Clark. "Administration expects some operating challenges should a revenue share provision be implemented. This is due to the potential for conflict arising from the quantity of same-sport groups (i.e., minor hockey, minor figure skating) across Chatham-Kent who operate independently from one another, as well as the potential disparity in advertising value between the arenas in which these groups operate."

The revenue-share opportunity available to eligible seasonal user groups of Chatham-Kent arenas will be communicated directly to these groups once the agreement is executed and the details are available.

The revenue-share opportunity proposed in the advertising agreement is expected to offset costs incurred by seasonal ice user groups so they can continue to provide recreational opportunities to residents.

The municipality rents ice to approximately 22 organized minor sports associations and hockey clubs, as well as to conveners of dozens of other recreational leagues.

Other community groups do not use municipal arenas but have expressed interest in leveraging arena advertising to financially support their local causes, according to Clark.

"It is impractical to divide advertising opportunities among all interested groups due to the inevitable conflict arising from the limited space and client pool," Clark wrote. "Administration is also of the opinion that most community groups do not have the capacity to sustainably deliver advertising services without risk to the guaranteed minimum revenue provision expected by the Municipality."

Results of this trial period will be communicated to Council along with recommendations on proceeding with a future Request for Proposal for advertising services.

Clark said a two-year trial period is necessary to ensure an entire ice season is concluded before those recommendations are brought to Council.

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