Knightdale’s idea for selling sponsorship at its new park, Knightdale Station, isn’t a new idea, but it’s certainly novel for eastern Wake County.
The idea is relatively simple and it’s certainly brought in millions of dollars to the owners of other recreation facilities, money that can be used to maintain the facility or improve the experience for visitors.
And, while we don’t oppose the idea of selling sponsorships, we do urge the town’s leaders to think long term. The facility now known as PNC Arena, was once called the RBC Center. Walnut Creek has had so many corporate sponsors of it’s amphitheater over the years, it’s hard to keep up. But ask someone about Carter-Finley Stadium or Kenan Stadium. They’ll know whereof you speak.
A revolving door of corporate sponsors can cause more harm the brand than the money it brings is worth.
As the town embarks on its own branding plan and looks to position itself as regional destination, it will be important that the facilities have their own recognizable brand. A park that changes names every five years or so won’t help the town as much as it could.
The town would be well-served to take a low-key approach to the sale of sponsorships with its new park. Limit the exposure of signage and corporate kowtowing and focus more on finding a stable long-term partner to join the effort at maintaining and improving the park. If the town signs a long-term contract with a company that’s likely to be around for the long haul, then a sponsorship opportunity could be a win-win for everyone involved. Seeking the highest dollar bidder just for the sake of balancing the books more quickly would not be a good move on the town’s part.