October 8, 2010 12:36 pm

Calgary Flames announce new name for arena: ‘Scotiabank’ Saddledome

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CALGARY – The Calgary Flames officially announced today the renaming of its home rink to the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The 10-year Saddledome naming rights agreement with Pengrowth expired in June.

In making the announcement, Ken King, president and CEO of the National Hockey League team, said Scotiabank’s "commitment to hockey is unbelievable."

George Marlatte, Scotiabank’s senior vice-president for the Prairie region, said the Calgary Flames are an integral part of the city and southern Alberta.

"We are Canada’s hockey bank," he said.

"This partnership makes sense. We are a hockey bank. This is a hockey town."

No financial details were announced.

In an interview with the Herald earlier in the week, Debi Andrus, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, said the exposure a company receives by attaching its name to a venue such as the Saddledome is enormous.

"It’s a good idea if it fits within the company’s target market. You have to be strategic. When you go to spend that amount of money to put your name on a building or on a venue, or sports arena, it isn’t going to be cheap," said Andrus. "It depends on your strategy. Do you want to increase awareness of your name? Which is what Pengrowth did. . . . The other approach, of course, is you want to reinforce your position in a community or your support of sports."

Scotiabank has put its name on: Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, formerly the Corel Centre (2006, 15-year agreement); Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium in Vancouver (June 2010); and Cineplex theatres in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Edmonton (2007).

Scotiabank has National Hockey League partnerships as the Official Bank of the NHL, NHLPA (players’ association), NHL Alumni, as well as team sponsorships with the Ottawa Senators and the Calgary Flames. It is also associated with Flames star Jarome Iginla and Olympian Cassie Campbell.

The Flames’ home opener is Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Saddledome is home to the Flames, the Western Hockey League’s Hitmen, the National Lacrosse League’s Calgary Roughnecks and numerous concerts each year.

The bid for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary and the arrival of the NHL franchise spurred the establishment of the Saddledome Foundation to oversee the development of the facility.

The new arena opened Oct. 15, 1983.

According to the Saddledome website, in 1994, management of the facility was transferred to the newly formed Calgary Flames Limited Partnership. In the fall of that year, renovations totalling more than $37 million were undertaken.

The former Olympic Saddledome was named the Canadian Airlines Saddledome in 1995. It became the Pengrowth Saddledome in 2000.

Jim Kinnear, who was founder of Pengrowth Energy Trust and was instrumental in the initial sponsorship agreement, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com

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