WESTLOCK – The Town of Westlock will wine and dine prospective advertisers during a tour of its rec facilities in early June for the launch of its new sponsorship program.
The strategy, first unveiled in March, then formally adopted by town councillors in April and explained in detail in 20-page brochure available at the town’s website, outlines prices for not only things like rink-board advertising and facility naming rights, but what it costs to buy an ad in the town’s community guide.
CAO Simone Wiley said she’s hopeful that up to 40 business owners will attend the function to learn more about the program, which is being handled by the town’s communications department in conjunction with the rec department — money generated via the program is meant to “support programs, events, and recreational opportunities for current and future generations.” The June 6 event starts at the Aquatic Centre, at 5:30 p.m., with attendees receiving a copy of the sponsorship package, a tour of the facility from the supervisor, and a small gift, then moves to Rotary Spirit Centre (RSC) for a tour from the supervisor and a brief social gathering with wine and appetizers from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. with the event wrapping by 8 p.m. — RSVPs are due today, May 26, by e-mailing here.
“(Communications and marketing coordinator) Debbie (Mottus) and the folks at those facilities put a lot of time and effort into researching and what’s reasonable and making it really easy for people to promote their businesses, because it’s not just about us getting revenue for our facilities, it’s also about helping our businesses get noticed and get their advertising out there,” said Wiley. “I’m always optimistic and have a big expectation that it will be well-received by the business community and they’ll see the value in it. That being said, it is our first go-round, so I’d be happy if we got 30 to 40 people out.”
In addition to putting a figure on five-year naming rights for the pool, tabbed at $144,000 for a non-profit group or $200,000 for a corporation, the RSC arena ($126,175 for a non-profit and $180,250 for a corporation) and fieldhouse ($108,150 for a non-profit and $154,500 for a non-profit), costs for rink board ads and the naming of dressing rooms are also spelled out. During previous deliberations on the document and the pricing, Mottus said they cast “a pretty broad net” and looked at a variety of municipalities, ranging from St. Albert to Red Deer, Fort Saskatchewan, Vermilion, Morinville and Barrhead, to set the baseline.
Wiley said initially the program will focus locally on small-to-medium-size businesses, but the long-term vision is to target large corporations.
“We would like to sell the big stuff and name the rooms and those kinds of bigger things for sure,” she said.
County also pursuing sponsorships
Westlock County politicians and administration are also hoping to pad the municipality’s bottom line via its sponsorship and advertising policy passed in late 2022, which is intended to allow administration to “seek corporate sponsorship for dedicated facilities, parks and potentially programs which will reduce the impact on taxpayers over time.” As per the policy, any money generated by the program will end up in the county’s general revenue account unless “specified in the sponsorship agreement that proceeds received are to be used for a specific purpose.”
County CAO Tony Kulbisky has said previously that “ … everyone around the table recognizes that it is an opportunity that maybe hasn’t really been explored at the county and now it gives us the opportunity to see what kind of extra revenue we can generate.”
And although he didn’t promise a windfall for the municipality, he said it’s worth a try as in his previous 13-year posting as CAO of Town of Devon, a similar policy generated $1.2 million for the municipality over a 10-year span.