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July 22, 2012

City may sell naming rights to Point, arena

— If the city manager has her way, this might be the last year for the AAABA Tournament to be held at Point Stadium.

But that’s only because there no longer would be a “Point Stadium.” City Manager Kristen Denne wants the stadium to be renamed for some deep-pockets benefactor, with big bucks coming to the City of Johnstown.

Think Pasquerilla Park. Or Sundowner Stadium, though that might be too inside baseball.

“This is very exploratory,” Denne said last week. “At this point, we are just starting to talk to consultants who do this type of work. The city is looking for revenues for upcoming years.”

The city is working with the Cambria County War Memorial Authority to see what profits may be had with naming rights for both sites.

“They’re pretty lucrative, there’s no doubt about it,” said Dean Gindlesperger, chairman of the War Memorial board.

Even smaller venues can sell naming rights for six figures over a 10-year term, according to Mediaventures of Nashville, Tenn., which tracks such contracts.

Gindlesperger agreed the process is early on – and said the board, and the county commissioners, would think long and hard about any decision to rename the War Memorial. The arena was built in honor of American veterans.

“At some point, money isn’t everything,” he said. “You don’t want to sell out what it stands for. It’s going to have to be approved by the veterans, first and foremost.”

Short of renaming the arena, he said, the ice itself can be sponsored. And “pouring rights” could be given to a specific beverage company for exclusive use of its drinks at concession stands in exchange for a donation.

Gindlesperger appreciated a newspaper story, saying, “The more input we have makes our decision that much easier. We’re not saying it’s going to happen; we’re not saying it’s not going to happen.”

The War Memorial board will learn more about such proposals at its meeting today, he said. It meets at 4 p.m. in the Stars and Stripes Room on the second floor.

Aside from concerts, the Johnstown Generals and high school hockey practices, the War Memorial this year landed a team for a junior hockey league.

Denne said The Point, likewise, is used regularly. In addition to Bishop McCort football, it hosts the AAABA League, Pony League, private fundraisers and sports practices.

Any deals with potential sponsors, Denne said, could have a real impact on Johnstown’s budget.

“The city is working every angle we can to maximize revenues so we don’t have to raise taxes,” she said.

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