A rendering shows the connector that will join Bojangles’ Coliseum (left) and Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, N.C. (Courtesy Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority)
When it came time for fried chicken and biscuits chain Bojangles’ to renew a naming-rights deal, the company decided its appetite had grown.
Bojangles’, whose name has adorned Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C., since 2008 as part of a deal that was to expire last year, agreed to a new 10-year deal that covers both the coliseum and the adjacent Ovens Auditorium. Together they will be called the Bojangles’ Entertainment Complex as part of the contract, announced recently.
Individually, 8,600-seat Bojangles’ Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium, which holds 2,600, will keep their current names.
“Ovens Auditorium will continue to honor the name that’s been in place for some time, but we’ll be able to link it to the coliseum under the Bojangles’ Entertainment Complex name,” said Steve Bagwell, vice president of venues for the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which manages the buildings. The city owns the venues.
Charlotte’s City Council approved the $2.85 million sponsorship. The deal more than doubles the previous 10-year agreement with Bojangles’, which carried a price of $1.25 million.
A $20 million connector building under construction will link the buildings physically as the new agreement links them in name. The connector, which will add bathrooms, concessions and intermission space, is scheduled to be finished in the fall.
Both venues continue to see increased activity each year, Bagwell said, and the minor league Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League returned as a coliseum tenant in 2015 after spending 10 years downtown at Spectrum Center. In the last several years, the city has spent roughly $16 million in tax dollars on upgrades to the two buildings, he said.
Such improvements keep people coming back, said Mike Boykin, CEO of Bespoke Sports & Entertainment, a marketing company based in Charlotte.
Boykin has been attending concerts and games for decades at Bojangles’ Coliseum, which opened as the Charlotte Coliseum in 1955. Ovens Auditorium opened at the same time.
“The transformation is spectacular. I think everything they’ve done over there is an upgrade,” Boykin said.
It makes sense to connect the two venues physically and through naming rights, Boykin said.
Bojangles’ naming-rights deal was the second piece of big news for the company in November. Earlier in the month, the company announced that it was being acquired by two New York firms, Durational Capital Management LP and The Jordan Company LP.
The city and the CRVA were kept abreast of the acquisition of Bojangles’ before the announcement of new ownership, said Randy Poindexter, Bojangles’ senior vice president of marketing.
“The new ownership group that will come in sometime in Q1 were absolutely aware of our negotiations” and supported the naming-rights deal, he said.
Poindexter’s team at Bojangles’ handled the naming-rights talks. CRVA brought in Rockville, Md.-based Team Services to consult on the deal.
The deal also allows the two venues to share a website, making it easier for fans to navigate schedules and tickets. Promoters also will find the venues more attractive now that they’re branded as one complex and will offer more amenities through the connector building, Bagwell said.
“We’ll just have better relationships with promoters so we have more concerts coming through, which is good for the financial health of the complex,” he said. “It’s a major win for the CRVA and a major win for the complex to continue to have a great relationship with Bojangles’.”