As the Oshawa’s downtown arena comes to the end of a 10 year naming agreement with General Motors of Canada, news comes on Friday afternoon that the building will have a new name as of November 1 of this year.
The soon-to-be-former General Motors Centre took to their social media pages to break the news on Friday afternoon, announcing that the arena would be renamed the ‘Tribute Communities Centre’ at the end of the month.
JUST ANNOUNCED: As of November 1, 2016 the @GMCentre will become the Tribute Communities Centre. pic.twitter.com/KS5NoRZXyb
— Tribute Centre (@MyTributeCentre) October 7, 2016
The announcement comes nearly ten years to the very day that it was announced that GM had acquired naming rights for the arena. That deal, signed on October 5, 2006, saw the arena branded as the General Motors Centre in time for the building’s grand opening the following month.
“We would like to thank General Motors of Canada for their commitment to our city as well as investing in our sports and entertainment facility for the past decade. We are very appreciative of General Motors’ support as it helped enable the facility to be recognized internationally as a premier facility,” said Oshawa Mayor John Henry. “We would also like to welcome Tribute Communities who is a great community partner and has helped grow our amazing city. We are looking forward to working together to continue to build the profile and success of the new Tribute Communities Centre.”
Steven Libfeld, Chief Executive Officer of Tribute Communities, commented, “Oshawa is a terrific city to live and work in and Tribute Communities is honoured to be part of this award-winning sports and entertainment facility.”
Numbers were not immediately available regarding what the city will receive from Tribute Communites. The deal between the City of Oshawa and General Motors of Canada in 2006 saw GMC pay $80,000 annually over the length of the ten-year deal, for a grand-total of $800,000.
It is interesting to note that Global Spectrum, operator of the arena, estimated in their 2016 Operating Budget and Business Plan that they hoped to attain true-market value of the naming rights, estimated at $250,000 to $300,000 per year. Asking General Motors of Canada to double or triple their annual investment in order to keep the name was likely not a long conversation, causing arena management to look elsewhere for title sponsorship.
In addition to being the primary home of the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals, the GMC has also been home to a number of other teams during it’s ten years in Oshawa. The Durham Turfdogs of the Canadian Lacrosse League and the Oshawa Power of the National Basketball League also called the General Motors Centre home during their existence, and the venue played host to boxing and weightlifting at the 2015 Pan-Am Games.
The arena has also seen a number of exciting live concerts and events, notably hosting such acts as Elton John, KISS, and Tom Jones. The final ‘General Motors Centre’ concert will take place on October 29th, when Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth, and Oshawa’s own The Standstills come to town. One night later, the Generals will play their final game in the “GMC”, hosting the Mississauga Steelheads.
The new ‘Tribute Communities Centre’, or the TCC as I’m sure we’ll all call it, will see it’s first official visitors on Friday, November 5th, as the Generals play host to the Owen Sound Attack. In an interesting coincidence, the Owen Sound Attack were also the visitors in the very first game at the General Motors Centre on November 6th, 2006.
Anthony Nicholson is Managing Editor of The Oshawa Times, and will be covering the Oshawa Generals in addition to various events around Durham. Anthony has covered the OHL since 2008 as Sports & Entertainment Editor for the N24 News Network and spent a season as the colour commentator for Generals radio broadcasts. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TimesNicholson.