VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC Place Stadium is still called BC Place Stadium and that is not going to change.
The BC government has turned down a naming rights deal with Telus worth $35-million over 20 years.
Jobs and Tourism Minister Pat Bell says people like the name BC Place and they’re attached to it.

“We spent significant time with Telus and the position of the province was always that we needed to retain the name BC Place,” Bell said.

“We were prepared to add Telus to the overall naming rights but we thought that it was important to have BC Place as part of the name. Telus felt equally strongly that could not be part of a negotiated agreement so it took some time to work through that. In the end both parties felt strongly about their individual positions.”

Bell also believes the deal wouldn’t have given give taxpayers the best value.

“We are deeply disappointed with this decision,” said Telus CEO Darren Entwistle.

“It is regrettable. We believe Telus, our brand and our 25,000 team members and retirees across British Columbia would have been a great partner for one of the greatest sports facilities in North America. Notwithstanding this, we are very proud of what our team members have accomplished in building a technology solution for BC Place.”

Bell said the money lost on the naming rights deal can be made up with smaller advertising contracts.

“The individual opportunities that will exist around the stadium will now go out in various forms of tender,” Bell said. “We’ll be talking to different advertisers about what they might like to purchase and that will be happening within the coming months.”

NDP Tourism and Jobs Critic Spencer Chandra-Herbert said the BC government should have made this decision before it started spending money during the negotiations.

“Taxpayers have put so many millions of dollars into this, yet [the BC Liberals] hire high-priced lawyers, spend $60,000 to create a Telus sign last September, $30,000 to remove the old sign and there are untold costs that we don’t know about yet that relate to this,” Chandra-Herbert said. 

“It’s a very expensive proposition to go down this route if in the end they had no plan to follow it through.”

Telus is still negotiating to install equipment in the stadium.

Bell said this isn’t revenge for Telus not inviting Premier Christy Clark to a $3-billion spending announcement last week.

“The decision to not move forward with the naming rights was decided prior to last Friday,” Bell said. “Interestingly, it was not communicated to Telus until after the event they held last Friday.”

Former BC Liberal cabinet minister Colin Hansen attended the event for the Liberals.

BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix was there to represent his party.