Naming Rights: Moda Center

A Rose City building gets a new name, while keeping local connections

  • by Jessica Boudevin
  • Published: August 21, 2013

Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan and Moda Health President Dr. William Johnson announce the naming rights partnership for Moda Center in Portland. (Photo by Portland Trail Blazers)

The former Rose Garden arena in Portland, Ore., is shedding its name of nearly two decades. Moda Center and its National Basketball Association tenant the Trail Blazers announced a 10-year agreement with Moda Health for the venue’s naming rights.

A new logo is currently being designed for the facility, with signage scheduled to be complete by December, though the hope is to install new court graphics and as much new signage as possible before the 2013-14 season home opener against the San Antonio Spurs, Nov. 2. At the request of Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, the Moda Center logo will incorporate a rose.

“The Rose Quarter is what the district is going to remain, which is something we thought was very important,” said AEG Facilities’ Chris Oxley, GM of the Rose Quarter. “Maintaining some heritage to the Rose City through this name change was not just important to the fan base, but also important to us.”

Though financial details of the agreement aren’t being disclosed, Oxley did say that the cost for changing signage is primarily the responsibility of the ownership and the facility.

Moda Health is a local insurance provider that has been in business for more than 50 years, with many of its offices and employees in the Portland area.

“At Moda, we saw this as an opportunity to do something much more meaningful than put our name on or inside a building,” said Moda Health President Dr. William Johnson during a press conference. “We saw this as an opportunity to form an authentic community partnership — a partnership that engages Moda Health, the Portland Trail Blazers, and also the citizens throughout the Northwest.”

156885282.jpgThe Trail Blazers play at Moda Center. (Photo by NBA Photos/Getty Images)

Part of the community partnership will include a commitment to hosting health-related activities such as 5k runs and walks to support diabetes and cancer prevention. In addition to building a healthy community, the partnership will help Moda Center reinvest in programming for the space as well as upgrades and renovation.

“We have a 33-acre campus,” said Oxley. “It’s a lot more than a pair of arenas — we have the largest public plaza in the state.”

Funds from the naming rights deal will help redesign and restore landmark fountains around the space, as well as bring entertainment programming to the common areas, better signage, and eventually new retail and restaurant options.

“We’re committed to the notion that people need and deserve healthy places, and our intent is to create that here at the Moda Center,” said Johnson. “We’re convinced that we can be a showcase for modern urban healthy living in the new heart of the city.”

The naming rights relationship came together with help from Premier Partnerships, which the Trail Blazers tapped to help secure a sponsorship deal. But there was a less technical side of choosing the right partnership, too.

Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan said during a press conference that when he first sat down with Moda Health in June, he knew it was the start of something big.

“You can always tell when you get a good vibe from people and, from day one, we knew they would be great partners going forward,” McGowan said.

McGowan then addressed Portland’s traditionally passionate fans in an effort to explain why the naming rights deal is necessary to bring the Trail Blazers organization to the next level.

“I want the fans to know that because of this deal and the benefits of this deal, we’re going to be able to invest back into our organization in a lot of things that are going to directly impact our fans: things like fan experience, things like facility improvements, and even the product on the court to help us be a more competitive basketball team.”

“The Rose Garden put us on the map, and Moda Center is going to take us into the future,” he added.

Interviewed for this story: Dr. William Johnson, (503) 219-3673; Chris McGowan, (503) 797-9679; Chris Oxley, (503) 235-8771

  • by Jessica Boudevin
  • Published: August 21, 2013