Rose Garden Renamed The Moda Center
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.