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Tampa may sell center naming rights
By JANET ZINK, Times Staff Writer
Published November 27, 2007
TAMPA - The bay area has Raymond James Stadium, Tropicana Field and the St. Pete Times Forum.
Now, Mayor Pam Iorio is considering selling naming rights to the city-owned Tampa Convention Center.
"We're just fact finding right now. We're finding out what other communities of like size have done to see if it's even feasible," Iorio said.
Preliminary research shows that naming rights could be worth about $250,000 a year, which could come in the form of cash, upgrades to the Convention Center, or a combination of the two, said center director John Moors.
In a time of tight revenue for local governments, Iorio said she needs to consider every option for new money.
"The Convention Center is a venue that's going to constantly need upgrades to maintain its competitiveness," she said.
Earlier this year, Iorio battled Hillsborough County commissioners over how to pay for a new roof and air conditioning for the facility. Ultimately commissioners agreed to earmark $6-million in tourist development tax revenue.
It costs about $8.5-million a year to operate the venue, Moors said. The facility generated that much revenue last year with such events as the annual Shriners convention and an international computing conference.
The center also gets about $2-million each year in tourist development taxes.
Moors said selling naming rights appears to be a generally positive move. The only downside he has heard of so far comes when a corporation visits a convention center named for a competitor.
If the city goes forward with the sale of naming rights, the deal could be in place next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, Moors said.