Agency offers convention center naming rights

jwarren@herald-leader.comJuly 9, 2013 

Planner Gary Bates presented his vision for the Rupp Arena, Arts and Entertainment District in January, along with this artist's rendering of a renovation of Lexington Center and Rupp Arena.

The Lexington Center Corp. is officially seeking proposals for naming rights to the Lexington Convention Center.

The corporation says it is seeking a "Naming Rights Partner," who would be associated with the existing convention center as well as the proposed new convention center.

The request for proposals — typically called an RFP — must be submitted to Rupp District Project Director Frank Butler by 2:20 p.m. Aug. 2, according to the RFP dated July 1.

Butler was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

However, Butler had stated in mid-May that the center corporation would take the step of seeking bids for naming rights.

At the time, Center Corp. chair Brent Rice said the step was intended to "test the water" in an effort to identify as many revenue sources as possible for the center.

"We have so many assets ... we really don't know what the true value is," Rice said in May. "The only way we are going to find out is testing."

Center Corp's RFP says the entity submitting the winning proposal would receive exclusive rights to the name of the new convention center. It also would have the right to create and develop a proposed facility logo, which would be jointly owned by LCC. The design would be subject to LCC approval.

According to the RFP, a respondent would be expected to propose alternative names for the convention center, with LCC having ultimate authority to approve the name and the facility logo.

LCC wants to retain "Lexington Convention Center" as a part of any proposed name, according to the RFP.

The LCC said it will consider any and all proposals that are submitted. However, each respondent would be expected to outline its financial proposal, including a payment plan and escalation factors so a "thorough analysis of the proposal may be performed."

The LCC said a number of factors would be considered including the proposed terms of the contract, the number and types of events that would be held at the facility, annual attendance, media exposure and demographics of the audience.

While respondents would be able to outline the proposed term of the agreement, the RFP says a "minimum term of 10 years is contemplated."

Meanwhile, city officials issued a news release Tuesday, saying Governor Steve Beshear, Mayor Jim Gray and the Lexington Center Board will make an "important announcement concerning Lexington Center and Rupp Arena." No other details were provided.

The news conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Jim Warren (859) 231-3255.

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