NYC Parks Seek Corporate Sponsors

Friday, June 08, 2012


Move over Citi Field, here comes Acme Courts and Widget Dog Run. For the first time, New York City is selling naming rights to sponsor locations in its parks. The cash-strapped city is hoping to raise $5 million dollars a year by recruiting sponsors for its basketball courts and dog runs

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the plan is a creative way to find money and avoid the more dire prospect of layoffs. He also believes it's a great opportunity for companies.

"They can affiliate themselves with a really great product, which is New York City parks, and by the way, help make sure that the parks stay well served and well serviced and well visited," he explained.

But not everyone sees this as a good thing for city parks. Geoffrey Croft, with NYC Park Advocates, said this proposal raises some serious concerns. "This administration is increasing relying on these types revenue generators from parks while allocating a fraction of funds needed for the parks department," he said. "Ninety-one percent of revenues from city agency concessions all derived from parks."

He's concerned that the revenue generated from the sponsorship deals will not in fact go into the parks budget, but the city's general fund.

The city put out a request for proposal on Friday, allowing companies, foundations or individuals to bid on naming 631 basketball courts and 55 dog runs.

“By some estimates there are a million dogs in this city—and people have to get out with their dogs at least twice a day,” Benepe said. “The dog runs are very popular places…it’s a good market to affiliate your brand with.”

Depending on how this first foray into park sponsorship goes, the city says it may roll out other areas, such as tennis courts and swimming pools to be named as well, later this year.

Benepe said a full sponsorship of all of these assets could bring in as much as $13 million in revenue.

NYC & Company hired IMG a professional sports marketing company to determine elements of the benefits package, pricing, and to oversee the bidding process itself

The sponsors' signs would be designed in cooperation with the city. Companies have until the end of August 29th to respond.



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Comments [2]

Mary from Grant City, Staten Island

If I had the money, I'd offer to sponsor Washington Square Park's dog run so that my students and I could have the pleasure of naming it the Caesar III Pooch Park, after the dog in Willa Cather's "Coming, Aphrodite!," a favorite Greenwich Village class reading. Seriously, two points: 1) can't we use city authority to tax these people? Must we entice them to pay their fair share with the promise of advertising opportunities? and 2) Geoffrey Crofts fears the money will go not to the parks but to the city's general fund; perhaps we also ought to fear NYC will use the same model states with large public universities use--once public universities demonstrated they could raise some money, the states began cutting appropriations and expecting the universities to raise funds to make up the shortfall.

Jun. 09 2012 04:46 PM
afs from manhattan

are there no places sacrosanct anymore? corporate ads in the city's natural oases? how bloombergian. i can't wait to come upon a central park nook with a corporate name staring me in the face.

Jun. 09 2012 02:53 PM

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