Telus falling behind Rogers, Bell in the naming game

As a die-hard Vancouver Canucks fan, I wasfollowing the speculation closely earlier this week as a new naming rightsagreement was announced by the hockey club for its home rink, the arena nowformerly known as General Motors Place. With the news that RogersCommunications has won the bidding and the rink will now be known as RogersArena, telecommunications archrival Telus Corp. now has some catch-up to do.

The early speculation was actually that the newname would be Telus Place, based on a domain registry filing of telusplace.comby the Canucks. It appears to have been a defensive move made some months back,however. While Telus was apparently interested, in the end Rogers won out,which has to be embarrassing for Burnaby, B.C.-based Telus. While B.C. is Telus’home-turf as the incumbent wireline carrier, Rogers is a newcomer from the Eastlooking to make inroads in the competitive wireless market.

Looking across the country, we now have RogersArena in Vancouver and Rogers Centre in Toronto (the home of the Blue Jays, a.k.a.the Skydome). And in Montreal, we have the Bell Centre, home of the MontrealCanadiens. Telus appears shut-out of the major leagues however, having tosettle for Telus Stadium, the home of the Edmonton Capitals of the GoldenBaseball League. Clearly, they need to step it up.

Unfortunately, the naming-rights for most of themajor sports facilities in Canada have already been snapped-up, unless one ofthe incumbents is looking to get out, like GM was, although BC Place is apparently available. There is one bold movethough that Telus could make, and it would be a great way to get back atRogers: make CN an offer they can’t refuse for the naming rights to the CNTower.

Picture it: The Telus Tower, with a new green andblue lighting scheme, towering over the Rogers Centre beside it, right in theheart of Rogers’s incumbent market. That’s worth fifty Rogers Arenas.

As for the new name for the home of my Canucks, I’mjust waiting for this to mean an increase in my cable bill…

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