News / Winnipeg

Mo’ money means mo’ sponsorship deals in Winnipeg, says new report

The city believes it could land more sponsorship deals with the private sector if it had better resources, but Coun. Russ Wyatt thinks the program is unsalvageable.

Coun. Russ Wyatt

Metro / File

Coun. Russ Wyatt

Winnipeg’s sponsorship program needs more staff to rake in more revenue.

That’s the conclusion of a new business plan prepared for Sponsor Winnipeg, written by Janet Thomas and Maureen Purdy, who work in the chief administrator’s office.

Back in April, councillors voiced concerns about the length of time it was taking to process and approve sponsorship deals, which exchange the naming rights of city assets and programs for cash.

They voted to have city staff compile a business plan for the program, and forecast revenue projections for the next several years.

The report states that since the city’s sponsorship program launched in 2009–under the leadership of former mayor Sam Katz– it has only amounted to $3.9 million in extra cash for the city.

“In 2014 and 2015 sponsor revenues declined to $253,200 and $172,200 respectively. This decline in revenues is a direct correlation to the program resources,” the report reads.

Currently, one part-time staff person operates the program.

Thomas and Purdy say in 2017 they plan to have a staff person from the corporate services division assist with the program on a part-time basis.

Depending on how well that goes, they could return with a request for the 2018 budget to assign an additional full time employee to the task.

The report also highlights the need to hire a consultant to help the city sort out programs or facilities eligible for sponsorship.

Coun. Russ Wyatt opposes any additional spending in the program because, he argues, it's too marred in red tape and should be scrapped entirely.

“Bureaucrats are not exactly known for their salesmanship ability,” he said on Monday.

Rather than see the sponsorships administered from the top down, Wyatt says, why not encourage an “informal, organic, ground-up policy.”

The report also presents a five-year business plan for potential sponsorship deals starting in 2018.

It says the city could make an additional $4.2 million in that time through selling the naming rights of civic facilities and offering special event sponsorships and exclusive rights.

Some opportunities include finding a program sponsor for Winnipeg Transit’s Peggo cards, selling the naming rights to all dog parks, recycling depots and parking passes. 

Wyatt said the current program places the city in direct competition with the efforts of non-profits and other community groups to secure their own funds, as both parties are likely to dip into the same sponsorship pool.

Friday’s meeting of the protection, parks and community services committee will discuss the report, which is to be received as information.

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