caseyholdahl

Aug 13

Rose Garden Renamed The Moda Center

By caseyholdahl

The Portland Trail Blazers and Moda Health have entered into a ten-year naming rights agreement for the Rose Garden Arena, it was announced today by Trail Blazers president and CEO Chris McGowan. With the agreement, the Rose Garden Arena will now be known as the Moda Center effective immediately.

"Moda makes sense for us for a number of reasons," said McGowan. "From Day One, I always talked about securing a partnership that included a naming-rights deal with the right company is what our goal was, not just to go out there and do any deal, it's to do the right deal. What I like about the fact that we were able to accomplish this with Moda is it's a local company, one that's based right here in Portland, it's got roughly 1,400 employees. That's ideal for us."

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

While the logo for the Moda Center was not presented at the press conference, McGowan said that a rose will be incorporated into the design, which, according to the release, was requested by team owner Paul Allen, who initially came up with the arena's original name.

"There is going to be a rose element designed into the logo and that's going to be a small way to pay tribute to the Rose Garden, to that part of our history and heritage," said McGowan. "I'm excited about that and I can't wait to see where that inspiration and that logo development and identity development is going to end up."

According to the team, changes to the arena, including new signage and "other visual elements," will be be added gradually, with all of the work being completed in time for Portland's regular season home-opener against San Antonio Spurs on November 2. Other changes will include a "redesign and restoration" of the water feature near the south entrance of the arena, new signage throughout the Rose Quarter and "new food and beverage options."

"There's going to be a new identity for the building, so we're going to be creating new logos and new wordmarks and various other elements to replace what was in the arena prior to this deal," said McGowan.

While the arena will be known, at least for the next ten years, as the Moda Center, the property surrounding the arena will continue to be known as the Rose Quarter.

"We're going to continue with the Rose Quarter," said McGowan. "A deal like this is going to help us enhance the Rose Quarter, so certainly that's not changing. Although the building's name is changing, the Rose Quarter isn't."

McGowan said the team is sensitive to the concern from some fans who have an attachment to the name "Rose Garden Arena." And while the name is still going to change, McGowan says the team won't forget the arena's roots.

"I would say to those fans that the Rose Garden isn't going away," said McGowan. "It's very much a part of our history and heritage and we're a part of that, and so is Moda. The Rose Garden, I would say, put us on the map and Moda Center is going to take us into the future… I totally understand the sentiment. I just want them to know we're not forgetting the Rose Garden. It's a part of our history and heritage that none of us certainly will forget."

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but McGowan said that the partnership between the Trail Blazers and Moda Health goes well beyond naming rights.

"This is a community partnership that includes naming rights as part of it," said McGowan. "Moda and the Trail Blazers are going to develop a lot of interesting initiatives as a result of this deal that are going to be ways to give back to the community. That's obviously a guiding principle of the Trail Blazers and it's certainly a guiding principle of Moda. They're all about health and healthy living and teaching people about health and we represent athletics and active lifestyle, so we're going to come together with a lot of community initiatives that are aimed at getting people more active, more healthy, more fit."

“Since our company was founded in 1955, we’ve invested in projects that create healthy people and healthy places,” said Dr. William Johnson, President of Moda Health in the press release. “This partnership reaffirms our commitment to this community as we invite people now to join us in creating in the heart of our city a neighborhood that celebrates healthy urban living. We know that together we can be more. Be better.”

The Trail Blazers announced they were interested in finding a naming-rights partner as early as 2007 when Tod Leiweke, then the CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, noted that one of the team's goals regarding selling the naming rights to the arena was to "find a partner whose care values match our own."

More recently, Trail Blazers president and CEO Chris McGowan announced the team had hired Premier Partnerships to help jumpstart the moribund search for a naming rights partner. McGowan estimated that the organization spoke with "at least 250 companies" before landing on Moda Health.

"We ended up having some real good discussions with Moda," said McGowan. "I think probably the first discussion was a month or a couple of months ago. Usually when you meet people you can tell right away that there might be a good feeling amongst them and us, and I certainly felt that with Moda right away. We had two or three really great presentations and started progressing. Their vision aligned with our vision. The more we met, the more this deal started to make sense."

The Trail Blazers stated on numerous occasions that finding a local company to purchase naming rights was also a priority. Moda Health, which operates in Oregon, Washington and Alaska as a health and dental care insurance provider, certainly fits that bill. According to their 2011 annual report, Moda Health "offers a full range of medical, dental, pharmacy and vision services for more than one million customers throughout Oregon, Washington and Alaska." The organization reported year-end net revenues of $1.66 billion in 2011.

20 Comments

  1. Pooy on progress, but i can live with it. The beat goes on.

    by Hg on 8/13/2013 9:48 AM
  2. That's pretty much the best the team can expect HG

    by caseyholdahl on 8/13/2013 10:47 AM
  3. If Moda Health keeps our players healthy, it'll be worth it.

    by chris.barnes on 8/13/2013 11:06 AM
  4. I'm still calling it The Rose Garden.

    Why couldnt they have at least named it The Moda Garden, or The Moda Rose Garden...

    by Jestatom on 8/13/2013 12:31 PM
  5. Blazer fans feel as though we have ownership in the team and the building in which they play. We support our team as if they are family. We view the RG as our home. Changing the name of our home naturally feels awkward.
    The Moda Center isn't the sexiest of names. Nonetheless it is our new home.
    To our CEO- Since coming on board you have made several unpopular decisions. Shaking up staff, raising tickets prices and this. Making the Blazers a streamline business is important. We know that. Don't forget the fans supporting the business. Throw us a bone.

    by Divotking on 8/13/2013 12:57 PM
  6. Jestatom: It is going to be called The Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. I think the idea is that if you keep "Rose Garden" in the name, that's all people will ever call it. I'm sure Moda would like something more out of the agreement.

    Divotking: All good points. I would point out that Paul Allen payed for the majority of the Rose Garden (most other arenas are public financed these days) and has lost hundreds of millions of dollars on this team throughout the course of his ownership.

    by caseyholdahl on 8/13/2013 1:17 PM
  7. gay

    by Thetruth4 on 8/13/2013 2:26 PM
  8. @caseyholdahl;
    Thanks for the response. I'm well aware of what Paul has done for the team and the city. We are lucky to have a team owner like Paul. I haven't always agreed with every move he has made but I believe his heart has always been with the team. All he has ever wanted is a winner. Even now, changing the name of the RG is in the best interest of the team and city.
    My comment was directed toward McGowan. He has had to make some unpopular decisions concerning the Blazers. A building is a building. A building full of fans is a home. Some recent news of fan appreciation coming out of his office wouldn't hurt his image.
    The FANFEST doesn't count. It was in place before his watch.

    by Divotking on 8/13/2013 2:34 PM
  9. One more point.
    When we say "meet me at the MC". Do we mean the Memorial Coliseum or Moda Center?

    by Divotking on 8/13/2013 2:55 PM
  10. by Divotking on 8/13/2013 2:55 PM
  11. I am calling this exactly what it is. Corporate sellout. If there was one thing I took pride in about our Arena it was that it didn't sellout. It was named to the likeliness of the city it was in. The Rose Garden, in the City of Roses. The Fans and the community that make up your consumer/customer base are a large base of Prideful, Knowledgeable basketball fans. You have ripped pride from Rip City. Have fun with that.

    (P.S.) I bought season tickets to watch the Blazers play in the Rose Garden, not the Moda Center. I would like my money back.

    by nrcamp87 on 8/13/2013 6:13 PM
  12. What a stupid name and how inconciderate not to ask the fans first beings we are the ones that support this money grubbing simple minded establishment. I say boycott the p[lace until moda wants to put our name back!!!!! corproate sellout is putting it mildly I wont even attend another concert there let alone a blazer game!!!

    by LongtimeBlazerManiac on 8/14/2013 8:49 AM
  13. Just a reminder that this team hasn't turned a profit in forever. And that Paul Allen built the building with almost all of his own money. Asking fans what they think the name should be doesn't make any sense, seeing as how it's a sponsorship, not an election.

    by caseyholdahl on 8/14/2013 8:48 AM
  14. Everybody, you are making too much out of this, It is progress and it is here to stay. Changes in players names, establishments, nicknames, doesn't change the players, fans, or establishments.

    We are now known as soccer Moms, but we are still the same ol Blazer Fans; the players are recycled periodically, but they are still the same ol Blazer team; Uniforms are redesigned, but they are still the same ol Blazer uniforms; renaming the Rose Garden in the Rose quarters will not change the Blazers home, call it what may but it is the home of our Blazers. My last name is MANGUM, but I was nicknamed Magnumpi, nevertheless I am still the same ol HG

    by Hg on 8/14/2013 9:42 AM
  15. Agreed, HG. Let us not forget how much worse of a name we could have acquired for our arena, considering some of the ridiculous corporate names that exist out there.
    KFC Yum! Center (Univ of Louisville)
    Bojangles Coliseum (Charlotte, NC)
    Gaylord Entertainment Center (Nashville)
    Middlefart Stadium (Middlefart, Denmark)

    You see? This could have been an embarrassing disaster and blemish, but instead the sponsorship is tastefully done. At least there is some representation of the city, and Paul Allen has "fallen on the grenade" for this city countless times, all with the public's benefit in mind, so I'm sticking on P.A.'s team, no matter what he calls the building.

    by Blazers406 on 8/14/2013 1:31 PM
  16. Agreed this isn't the end of the world. However, it does show how horribly out of touch this organization is with the fans.

    When you think of big time corporate sponsorship in the city, do you ever think Moda? Nike, Adidas, Intel come to mind. Don't we know anybody at Microsoft? Moda? Doesn't feel like Portland to me. The Nike Rose Garden Arena. That sounds amazing and far less cynical than some desperate tangential relationship between an insurance company and so-called health conscious Portlanders. Please, let's not pretend we all just ran a 10K, hopped in our Subaru's and grabbed an ultra light beer on the way to our seat. Portlanders are just as fat and unhealthy as the rest of America. Oh, and news flash. WE DON'T LIKE GIANT HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES.

    Now I'm not an insider but last I checked, we aren't having any trouble filling the seats. I've been to a lot of stadiums all over the country and I love ours the best. I've never had a complaint about the food, the beer, the fountains outside etc. The Rose Quarter is a joke, I get it. Sell some real estate for chris'sake. Problem solved. Exterior lighting, I could not care less. I'm running from the train to the doors in pouring rain and don't have a lot of time to admire any of it.

    THIS IS OUR HOUSE means something completely different today.

    by uprised on 8/14/2013 1:52 PM
  17. Chris McGowan said "We want to make sure they understand why we did the deal and we'll be monitoring it and talking to people if they are completely upset, but we don't anticipate it will be a large number of people."
    Is this all supposed to be a joke? Because it's really not funny.This is ridiculous and just irritating. EVERYTIME I HEAR IT. Irritated. And for lights, "better wifi" and a fountain? Who hired this guy? None of that stuff is even necessary. I do not like being mocked by the president of my favorite basketball team. It is NOT progress to name stadiums after companies. I realize there are more serious problems in the world. Which is all the more reason to keep things that are special and unique. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: "We have realized our terrible mistake and have returned the Rose Garden to its proper name. So sorry to cause you any trouble." How exactly ...with exact numbers...has the Trailblazers not turned a profit? Pretty sure the fans are coming to the games (more than most other basketball teams) and supporting the team financially with merchandising sales? Sigh.

    by DustyGeo on 8/15/2013 12:01 AM
  18. And it doesn't need to be an election. The trailblazer organization just needs to remember who exactly is sponsoring who. Because without fans there's no need for a basketball team. Don't be more patronizing.

    by DustyGeo on 8/15/2013 12:03 AM
  19. "terms of the deal were not disclosed" means the greedy lawyers and insurance company doesn't want the fans to know how bad of a deal this really is for the State,city,and it's fans to lose the Rose garden name...I was exited about the upcoming season til I heard about this,all of my friends are pissed too! I inderstand the bottom line needs to be met,but it's gotta be with the NBA getting it's calls right and having some integrity with the rules,and stop this special treatment BS we've been seeing the last 20 years,(anyone there realize why the NFL is so good and profitable? it's league parity and integrity with calls during the game,if Goodell would stay out of it politically they'd be even better)O I've longed for the old days when star players traveled with the ball and got whistled for it, and PF were called,the stars might even foul out! it was exiting!

    by c_ranslam on 9/20/2013 12:30 AM
  20. Is it just me or is anyone else frustrated that Moda Health is re-branding The Rose Quarter. Not solely on the fact that Portland is losing a piece of its identity. But should a health insurance company have and extra $4 million to burn each year on such things as re-branding sports complexes? Could that money go to help America's troubled health care system? How many hospital beds does 4 million cover? If the answer is "Not very many" then we have a bigger problem than just the wasteful spending of a company that provides essential services to people. Something about this just really gets to me, I am genuinely angry over this...

    by erizzle on 9/20/2013 12:38 AM
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