New name announced for Shaw Conference Centre

Edmonton's downtown convention centre is reverting to its original name.

Naming rights put up for grabs in spring of 2018

The Shaw Conference Centre will take its original name, the Edmonton Convention Centre, on Jan. 1, 2019. (Wikipedia)

What's old is new again.

The Shaw Conference Centre will be called the Edmonton Convention Centre once the naming rights to the building expires on Dec. 31. 

After 21 years as the Shaw, the downtown venue at 97th Street and Jasper Avenue will be renamed on Jan. 1, the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) announced in a news release Monday.

Shaw Communications Inc. became the first corporate sponsor of the convention centre in 1997. The 20-year naming deal cost Shaw $5.5 million.

Naming rights were put up for grabs in the spring of 2018 when the EEDC issued a request for proposals.

A partner could not be found for the bid, said Richard Wong, general manager for the centre.

'Just kicking tires'

"We had a number of interested people who were just kicking tires if you will," Wong said. "They were very interested because they had heard about the convention centre and the direction it was going and really wanted to align their brand with it."

"But unfortunately, nothing really came to fruition at the end of the RFP process so we weren't successful in securing someone." 

Wong said the EEDC would consider re-opening the bidding process in the future, but there are no plans in place. He said the recent downturn hasn't helped their search for the right partner. 

"The economy isn't very strong and I think that's really a key driver in some of that decision-making, but at the same time we need to create value and I think we already do ... but how do we actually tell that story and find the right strategic partner?" 

The venue was originally named Edmonton Convention Centre from its opening in 1983 until 1997. 

The property — owned by the City of Edmonton and managed by the EEDC — hosts around 650 events every year. 

"The Edmonton brand deserves to be showcased in the name of a venue that delivers more than $26 million in economic impact to the city each year," Derek Hudson, CEO of EEDC, said in a statement.

"The new name reflects EEDC's continued dedication to building Edmonton as a regional, national and international destination for events, meetings and conventions."