City should retain arena naming rights, says councillor

An Edmonton councillor says city negotiators should have pushed harder to get the naming rights for the proposed downtown arena.

No more Rexall Place as Katz to sell name of proposed downtown arena

Oilers owner Daryl Katz will get millions for selling the arena's naming rights 1:52

City negotiators should have pushed harder to get the naming rights for Edmonton's proposed downtown arena, says Coun. Kerry Diotte. 

"It's just ludicrous that we own it, build it, finance it and yet we don't have the right to name it," Diotte said.

Oilers owner and drugstore magnate Daryl Katz purchased the naming rights for Rexall Place before he owned the team, paying the previous owners several million dollars.

Under the framework agreement reached this week with The Katz Group, the city is allowing the Oilers owner to keep any money earned from naming rights.

Brad Humphreys, a sports economics professor at the University of Alberta, said the usual practice is to give teams the money from naming rights.

"The teams hold the upper hand in these negotiations- the team owner can always threaten to go somewhere else if they don't get what they want," he said.

The value of the naming rights depends on the visibility of the arena, success of the team, and the size of the market, he said.

In the case of the new Edmonton arena, the rights could be worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, Humphrey said.

With files from CBC's Lydia Neufeld