Tourism

Council decides on naming rights, tourism fund and more

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – The City of Charlotte is looking to a lucrative naming rights deal to help pay for a new training facility for the Charlotte Hornets at a new transit center for CATS. It’s one of the pillars of a $275 million deal between the city and the Hornets to modernize the Spectrum Center and keep the team in Queen City until 2045.

During a council committee meeting on Monday, the elected leaders expressed excitement and misgivings about negotiations with corporate America to name entertainment districts and exercise centers in exchange for income. The money will help pay $60 million to build the Performance Center, a training facility for the Hornets that will exist as part of the new Charlotte Transit Center.

Charlotte’s director of economic development, Tracey Dodson, said that without $60 million in naming rights revenue, the city would have to identify various sources of revenue to pay for the project.

The money will come from the Charlotte Tourism Fund, which is income from hospitality taxes like hotels and car rentals. Council members continued to lament the city’s lack of transparency when it came to other projects that rely on funds from the same source.

The City is working with the Innovative Partnerships Group to determine how the City can make money from naming rights. The City proposed to create an entertainment district around the Spectrum Center and the new CTC/practice center and sell the rights to the company’s name.

A visualization provided by the City of Charlotte showing what the new Charlotte Transit Center and Hornets Training Center on Brevard Street could look like.(City of Charlotte)

IPG’s Jeff Marks said his company has helped other cities secure similar deals in Phoenix, Dallas and Nashville.

Marks calculated that Charlotte could be making “a couple of million a year” from naming rights and entertainment district branding opportunities. He also listed a training facility, a ground floor clinic at CTC, vehicles such as buses and facilities as additional branding opportunities and naming rights.

Essentially, the city will sell the naming rights to the neighborhood and then borrow money based on that income to pay $60 million to build the training center.

A rendering from the city of Charlotte of what the entertainment district on Brevard Street is...
A visualization from the city of Charlotte of what an entertainment district on Brevard Street might look like.(VBTV)

The new deal will not affect the name of the arena. Spectrum’s naming rights deal with Charlotte Hornets. Dodson said it would remain so even with the new agreement, as the city would not receive any revenue.

Council members Dimple Ajmera and Victoria Watlington shared rave reviews about the opportunities they can provide.

“What do we see in this area as a whole? This can help determine who we want to have as a partner and how that aligns with what we’re trying to do,” Council member Watlington said.

City Councilman Ed Driggs shared his doubts about the partnership between the city…

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