Improving communities through sport

What’s in a (Sports Facility) Name?

5 Key Considerations to Sports Facility Names

Perhaps the day has come that your facility is financed and construction is underway, or you’re still in the planning process and want brand development to help bolster your financing presentations. In either case, it may be time to start the naming process for your new sports, recreation, or events facility. These 5 keys can help you create something great.

1. Understand Your Target Market

A general rule of marketing is to communicate the value of the product/service you represent. But, how do you know what is valuable unless you consider to whom you are selling? Start the naming process by focusing on the primary users/buyers of your facility. Do they want something aspirational (Summit, Apex, Champion), something that represents the local community (city name), something with a sense of place (Mountain View, Riverside), or are they craving something edgy and different (The Edge, The Big House)?

2. Communicate Clearly

A little mystery can create interest born out of curiosity, but a lot of mystery breeds confusion. Err on the side of simple and communicate clearly. What do you do? What is your biggest source of revenue? In a world with a 6-second attention span, make it easy for people to quickly understand the nature of your business.

3. Be Creative

Everybody wants a sports complex or “sportsplex,” but do we have to call it that? No. Sports Park, Sports Campus, Sports Oasis, Sports Outpost, Sports Center, Sports District…Country, Zone, Fieldhouse, Summit, or Gallery. Many choices depart from the tried-and-true “complex” and remain original.

4. Say it out loud

Does your potential name sound good when shouted? Does it sound good in a presentation? Is it natural to say or does your tongue get tied? How will people abbreviate it? Will it have a nickname? Test out your potential name finalists and see how they fare. Chances are that if you feel unnatural or have trouble saying or spelling it, so will your potential customers.

5. Plan for Permanence

Owners often wonder if they should just think of a temporary name because they are planning on selling naming rights to their facility. While naming rights are certainly an available option in many communities, the fact is that high-dollar sales of youth, recreation, or community event centers is extremely rare. Yes, there are exceptions to this statement, but unless your facility has a deal in hand or signed letter of intent, it’s best to plan for permanence. Choose a name that has staying power and that conveys value or meaning to your target audience, and build your brand around that. If the day comes that you sell the million-dollar naming rights deal, you’ll have the money to print new t-shirts.

There you have it – 5 key considerations for your facility name. Of course, there are many other factors to consider (such as local/regional competition), but with these factors in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a great sports facility name.

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