Letter: Naming rights

It has previously been reported that a committee had been established by the indoor stadium trust to deal with the commercial sale of naming rights.

Those appointed to the committee did not include some trustees because of anticipated conflicts. An appointment from outside the trust was made to chair the committee.

Little has been heard since the naming rights committee was established but some recent reports suggest that a decision will be announced soon.

It is also apparent from recent reports that there is still a significant amount of money to be found for the completion of the stadium rebuild. The stadium is such a wonderful community asset brought about through community funds and great vision. There is a strong public interest in ensuring that the naming rights process is one that stands any scrutiny, that the widest net has been cast and that the best possible outcome is achieved.

Can I ask for the following questions to be answered:

1. Were any directions or instructions (formal or informal) given to the naming rights committee, particularly regarding the range of prospective naming rights sponsors and the extent of the process?

2. If so, who gave those directions or instructions and what were they?

3. Have prospective naming rights sponsors been sought from the open market and how?

4. If not, who are the prospective naming rights sponsors that have been asked to make a proposal, why have they been approached and why have others not been approached?


Richard Hoskin, chairman, stadium commercial advertising committee, replies: The stadium commercial advertising committee was established by the Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust in September 2012 as an independent group to conclude the sale of naming rights in the new stadium. The committee was formed because there was potentially a number of real or perceived conflicts of interest among trustees over the sale.

Committee members were hand-picked to ensure independent decisions, free of conflicts of interest, could be made. I am the committee chair and I am independent of the trust. In relation to directions and instructions provided to the committee, a formal terms of reference document was prepared by the solicitors for the trust in conjunction with a Community Trust of Southland-appointed probity consultant. The committee has agreed to be bound by the provisions of the document throughout the course of the naming rights process and has also subsequently met with the solicitor for the stadium trust to clarify the contents of the document.

The committee is clear that it has autonomy from the trust and that the trust does not expect the committee to come back to it for any direction. It follows that the committee has full authority to complete the naming rights negotiations on behalf of the trust.

During 2012, before the committee was established, the trust had sought expressions of interest from a total of nine multinational, international, national and regional organisations. At that time a decision was made not to publicly advertise due to the limited number of organisations perceived to be in the market to purchase the naming rights. As a result of wide-ranging and comprehensive discussions with the nine organisations, the trust received expressions of interest from two and the committee was then established. A tender process was then initiated by the committee and the two organisations were invited to formally tender for the naming rights.

Negotiations are continuing, with the committee confident an arrangement will soon be entered into that will properly reflect the market value of the naming rights. If the committee considers that the current process has not delivered the true market value of the naming rights it has the option of going back to the marketplace should that be necessary.

Your correspondent will appreciate that there is considerable commercial sensitivity around these matters and the names of the two organisations cannot be divulged. I would, however, be happy to have a discussion with Mr Redpath around the process the committee has undertaken and I would also extend an invitation to Mr Redpath to meet with the committee to discuss any further concerns he may have in relation to that process.

The Southland Times