Air Canada Centre forced to change name after events consistently start on time
TORONTO, ON—It was always on time, but unfortunately, that was not on-brand.
That's what Air Canada is saying after announcing that the Air Canada Centre will, as of 2018, be renamed the Scotiabank Arena. Unfortunately, the regular and predictable beginning of concerts and other events at the venue made it unrealistic, if not downright silly, to associate it with the far less "chronologically foreseeable" Air Canada, and so the airline was encouraged by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to give up their sponsorship – a decision they agreed with.
"We don't like to keep people off their toes that way," says Charles Zoomer, an Air Canada spokesperson. "An event is happening at the venue and you know exactly when it's going to start, you know exactly what you're allowed to bring onboard—or into the building. I ask you… where's the fun in that?"
"Where's the fun in that for us, I mean—it's quite clear where the fun is for the people attending! It just doesn't fit our business model, though. So they asked us to disassociate ourselves, and we were quite glad to do it," he adds.
Karen Willington, superintendent of the ACC, said that Scotiabank will likely be a far more appropriate sponsor.
"Obviously Air Canada had its name on the ACC, but they weren't closely involved in the day-to-day running of the facility," she says. "So that led to a lot of things flying under the radar, like events starting exactly when it said they would on the ticket, that kind of thing. When they caught wind, they weren't super-pleased."
"And also, if I can be blunt for a moment, people have been having a really good time. People have always really enjoyed themselves here, and by all accounts, they were always pretty comfortable, whether at a Springsteen concert or a Raptors game. To associate that with the Air Canada brand was a bit confusing."
Zoomer pushes back a bit in response to Willington's statement, saying that the prompt start times were the chief reason for the change, as well as the lack of arbitrary ejections.
"As I understand it, you might have been asked to leave the Air Canada Centre over the past few years if you did something untoward—if you were rude to another concertgoer, or if you damaged some property, that sort of thing," he says.
"Never can I find any record, however, of someone being asked to leave because the venue had sold too many tickets relative to the amount of seats it actually has, or because it wanted to give someone another person's seat just because. People don't seem very into the 'just because' reasoning at this place. I mean, don't get me wrong, they don't seem very into it when it comes to our airline either, but it's like… so what? You know?"
Willington emphasizes that now is the time to look forward to a new era under Scotiabank. "There's a reason you've heard the term 'banker's hours.' If nothing else, you know what you're dealing with. Oh also, everybody will have to switch banks to attend a game or concert now, though we're assuming that won't be a problem. They'll get a free debit card!"
At press time, the doors for this Sunday's Depeche Mode concert were expected to open exactly at 7:30 pm as listed on the ticket, to which Zoomer responded, "weird, that is so weird. Is that only for Elite 50k members, or…?"
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