This week, City Commissioners will consider an ordinance to allow for Commission approval of naming rights for City-owned facilities for a limited number of years, specifically less than 20.
City Attorney Raul Aguila wrote in a memo accompanying the item, “Although the City’s Naming Ordinance contemplated that a referendum would be required for the permanent naming of a public facility, i.e., in perpetuity, many naming rights opportunities, particularly as part of sponsorship deals for performance or entertainment venues, are increasingly negotiated for a limited term of years. Such sponsorships may yield substantial additional revenues for the benefit of the City.”
The amendments to the City’s Naming Ordinance are sponsored by Commissioner Mark Samuelian. While the main focus is on the Miami Beach Convention Center, a number of other facilities would also be exempt from the voter referendum requirement for naming rights with a term of less than 20 years including:
- Colony Theater on Lincoln Road
- 10th Street Auditorium/Welcome Center, 1001 Ocean Drive
- Historic City Hall, 1130 Washington Avenue
- 1701 Meridian Avenue
- North Beach Bandshell
- Byron Carlyle Theater on 71st Street (subject of an ongoing process to redevelop the property with a required cultural arts space)
- City-owned and operated parking garages
- Adaptive Recreation Center, 5601 Collins Avenue (to be constructed)
- 72nd Street Civic Complex (to be constructed)
Exemptions would remain for facilities that have been exempt from the Naming Ordinance, specifically, the Bass Museum, the New World Symphony, the Miami City Ballet building, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, and the Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason.
According to Aguila’s memo, the ordinance also “[p]reserves the referendum requirement for the naming of any City park, or for naming rights for all City facilities if the term of the naming rights deal exceeds twenty (20) years…”
The amendments, according to Aguila, “are intended to complement the City’s efforts to identify corporate sponsorships and generate substantial additional revenue for the City, particularly for a naming rights deal for the Miami Beach Convention Center. For a naming rights deal for a term of years, the referendum requirement creates a very high barrier to entry, and prospective corporate sponsors will likely be unwilling to go through the time and expense (not to mention the risk), of a public referendum process, simply to enter into a sponsorship arrangement. For these reasons, the proposed ordinance amendment exempts term-limited naming rights deals for certain public facilities from the referendum requirement, while still maintaining a high standard of public engagement for the review and approval of all naming rights granted by the City.”
The Commission began discussion of opportunities for new revenue streams from corporate sponsorships more than a year ago. A final selection for a corporate sponsorship marketing consultant is expected in January.