Freedom Mobile unveiled as naming partner for new PNE amphitheatre

Click to play video: 'Naming partner announced for new PNE amphitheatre'
Naming partner announced for new PNE amphitheatre
The PNE has revealed the naming rights partner for its new amphitheatre - Freedom Mobile. PNE CEO Shelley Frost announced the 10-year naming rights agreement during a groundbreaking ceremony for the venue Friday afternoon – May 24, 2024

Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) has unveiled Freedom Mobile as the naming rights partner for its planned new covered amphitheatre.

The 10-year deal will take effect when the new venue is completed in 2026. The final name of the amphitheatre will be decided via a public poll but will include the wireless carrier’s name.

Potential names include the Freedom Mobile Amp, the Freedom Mobile Arch, the Freedom Mobile Rise and Freedom Mobile Place.

The deal is part of a 12-year agreement that will also see Freedom Mobile support other PNE events including the annual summer fair and the Haloween Fright Nights event.

Click to play video: 'Cost of new PNE Amphitheatre balloons to $103.7 million'
Cost of new PNE Amphitheatre balloons to $103.7 million

“The PNE amphitheatre where we’ve gathered today has been, since the 1960s, home to some of the greatest summer shows in our province, creating special memories for generations of Vancouverites, British Columbians and guests from around the world,” PNE CEO Shelly Frost said at a sod turning event marking the start of construction on the new venue.

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“We’re really proud of that history, but we’re more excited about our future.”

The PNE has not revealed the dollar value of the naming rights agreement.

When the new venue opens, it is expected to accommodate up to 10,000 spectators and draw more than 340,000 visitors to more than 75 performances per year.

It will have one of the largest free-span timber roof structures in the world, will be built with sustainable products and will have multiple energy efficiency and environmental certifications.

“The PNE Amphitheatre is more than a beloved concert venue, it has played a crucial role in Vancouver’s cultural scene, providing a platform to emerging and established artists,” said B.C. Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Lana Popham.

“It has created memorable experiences for a generation of concertgoers. We can’t wait for the next state-of-the-art amphitheatre to entertain thousands and thousands of people each year, ensuring that the PNE continues to be a premier destination for live entertainment.”

Click to play video: 'PNE reveals name of new rollercoaster'
PNE reveals name of new rollercoaster

The projected cost to build the new amphitheatre ballooned by more than 60 per cent last year, climbing to $103.7 million from an initial $64.8 million.

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Vancouver city councillors approved an increase in loan financing for the higher costs last July. Costs will not be shouldered by taxpayers.

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim hailed the new sponsorship deal, saying it was “literally going to create memories for another 100 years and it’s incredibly special.”

Sim also appeared to suggest there could be more naming rights deals to come while plying the crowd for laughs.

“We have an initiative at city hall, we have over 250 parks and literally hundreds of buildings that are all looking for naming sponsors,” he quipped to Pierre Karl Peladeau, president and CEO of Freedom Mobile parent company Quebecor.

“If you want to bundle a couple of things, come see us after, we can give you a really good deal.”

Sim’s ABC council majority has repeatedly highlighted the sale of naming rights as a possible strategy to help generate revenue for the city.

Voting on the amphitheatre’s new name will remain open until June 7.

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