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Arrowhead to Pay $1 Million Per Year to Sponsor Arena : Marketing: Anaheim official praises advertising deal that will provide visibility for water company.

September 30, 1993|MATT LAIT and MICHAEL FLAGG | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

ANAHEIM — Arrowhead Corp. will pay about $1 million a year for at least five years to be the sponsor of the $121-million Anaheim Arena, sources close to the negotiations said Wednesday.

Under the deal, which was completed this week and formally announced Wednesday, the arena will officially be known as the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim.

"This is an absolute plus for the arena," said Anaheim City Manager James D. Ruth. "Everything we have said about the arena has come true in a big way."

Officials from the Walt Disney Co., the city, the arena managers--Ogden Corp.--and Arrowhead declined to disclose the terms of the agreement. But sources said that Arrowhead will pay between $1 million and $1.5 million to have its name displayed on the facility.

Ogden will apparently receive about $500,000 each year of the lease, with the rest of the sponsorship payment going to Disney, which owns the Mighty Ducks, the only major league franchise playing at the arena. In addition to getting its name on the arena, Arrowhead was also named a corporate sponsor of the Mighty Ducks, which means they will get their name on game programs and advertisements linked to the team, said Bill Robertson, spokesman for the Ducks.

As a sponsor of the team and the arena, what Arrowhead will get, say marketing experts, is a lot of local visibility.

An airline, for instance, buys "an automatic association with that city or region, like United (putting its name on the arena) in Chicago," said Jim Andrews, who edits a trade publication on sports marketing called IEG Sponsorship Report.

"What Arrowhead seems to be trying to do is say 'We're Southern California's water company,' " said Andrews.

Although Arrowhead is a subsidiary of Perrier Group of America, which is owned by the giant Swiss food company Nestle SA, its $225 million in sales still need a boost. Southern California--its major market--remains in the grip of a recession.

"But it's not just a lot of visibility we're buying," said Jeffrey Caso, vice president of marketing for Perrier Group of America. "The sign will be visible from several freeways, but there's also an image rub-off from the Ducks, from Disney, and from the excitement of hockey in L.A.

"And there are a lot more events at the arena than just hockey, like concerts."

The sponsorship agreement puts to rest a dispute over what to call the facility. When Disney Chairman Michael D. Eisner announced that he was renaming the arena the Pond, he met resistance from the city and Ogden officials who said they thought the name would hamper efforts to get a sponsor for the facility.

"The Pond seemed like a name that would be difficult to attract a sponsor," said John Nicoletti, marketing manager for the Anaheim Arena. "But we always said if anyone can get it done it would be Disney."

Even with the sponsorship issue decided, Nicoletti said it could be weeks, even months before the name conversion is completed. He said the Arrowhead name will most likely be placed on an the archway in the front of the building.

"We're working on the logo right now," he said.

Additionally, he said, advertising material, programs, freeway signs and even his business cards are being ordered to reflect the name change.

"It'll take some time," Nicoletti said. "But now there's a sense of closure."

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