What’s in a name? B.C. scraps multimillion-dollar deal with Telus to rename BC Place

by Gaurav Kheterpal on March 8, 2012

On Monday, Telus announced a $3 billion investment in British Columbia that would create some 1,300 jobs in the province. While the wireless carrier will go ahead with plans to build the $750 million Telus Garden development that features 53 storeys of residential condos and 24 storeys of office space in downtown Vancouver, it has received a setback over the idea of renaming the revitalized BC Place stadium.

After two years of intense negotiation, the provincial government has cancelled a proposed $40-million deal with Telus to rename BC Place Stadium. As expected, Telus says it’s disappointed and calls the B.C. government’s decision as “regrettable”.

In an announcement that caught most people by surprise, Pat Bell, the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, said the government has decided not to sign a $40-million agreement with Telus for the naming rights for BC Place Stadium. He says the proposed deal didn’t provide the best value for taxpayers and the deal would have been unfair to British Columbians who have a strong attachment to the BC Place name.

While some would question that this isn’t a big deal, there’s more than what meets the eye. There are fears that Telus might back down on an expansive digital telecommunications deal that it pushed ahead with last year in the expectation the government would approve the renaming deal. Telus has a lot riding on B.C. this year including the extension of its LTE smartphone network to reach 90 percent of B.C.’s population by the end of 2012.

Telus has found support from John Cummins, the leader of the BC Conservative party, who believes that the money could have had plenty of good uses. He says he simply can’t understand the rationale of not auctioning off the naming rights to BC Place stadium for the benefits of taxpayers. On the other hand, NDP leader Adrian Dix blames the government’s incompetence for it’s inability push the deal through.

Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell has responded to the criticism stating that some of the revenue lost through the failed deal with Telus will be made up with other advertising agreements related to the stadium.

As expected, Telus isn’t amused.

“We are deeply disappointed with this decision. It is regrettable. We believe Telus, our brand and our 25,000 team members and retirees across British Columbia would have been a great partner for one of the greatest sports facilities in North America,” Telus president Darren Entwistle said in a statement.

He says Telus will pursue the the individual advertising sales for all the opportunities that exist despite the failure to get a nod on the one umbrella agreement. It is believed that Telus will still be associated with BC Place through a technology deal to be worked out with PavCo, the building operator.

If you are a B.C. resident, tell us your take on this issue by leaving a comment.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joe Diemert March 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm

It seems that in decide against changing the name to TELUS PARK, the government has left alot on the table along with the dollar amount offered by TELUS, as pointed out by many. Famlies First and BC Jobs were not included in the decision criteria.
Rather than simply back away from all of the work and expense put into this, and I’m quite sure TELUS would not object due to their investment to date, the new name could easily accommodate both parties; TELUS PARK @ BC PLACE ( @ BC PLACE in smaller letters)

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