The newly-named Shaw Centre is located in the heart of the nation's capital. (Photo courtesy of Shaw Centre)

Shaw Communications Inc. has entered into a 10-year naming rights deal with the Ottawa (Ontario) Convention Centre, which will be taking on the name Shaw Centre and ending a sponsorship search that began last summer. The exact dollar amount of the contract is being kept confidential by both parties for competitive reasons.

“We are privileged to work with this world-class and award-winning facility, and are eager to showcase the Shaw brand to hundreds of thousands of local, national and international visitors that come to the Shaw Centre every year,” said Shaw Communications CEO Brad Shaw in a press release. “The Shaw Centre reflects our commitment to strengthening our presence with our customers, communities, regulatory and government stakeholders in the nation’s capital. We are honored to be a partner of one of the world’s greatest convention venues.”

The partnership between the convention center, which opened in April 2011, and Shaw Communications Inc. officially began on Oct. 16 with token transition items on their social media and website homepage already being implemented. Plans for complete conversion, including street signage and changes inside the venue, are scheduled to be completed by the end of December.

“After discussing it with them, we decided Shaw was the best fit for us,” said Sylvie Carbonneau, marketing and communications director at the Ottawa Convention Centre, “because not only did we want a name partner, but we also wanted someone who could bring something to the table. And Shaw, with their communication capabilities, was something we were very interested in.”

Wakeham & Associates Marketing Inc. represented the Ottawa Convention Centre, approaching a range of companies in the telecommunications, financial and automotive sectors to find the ideal sponsorship partner.

“Because we sell naming rights sponsorships exclusively and have done these partnerships for over 20 years, we have a great database of people we deal with over and over again that are buyers who are seeking naming rights opportunities,” said Hugh Wakeham, president of Wakeham and Associates Marketing Inc. “We keep in touch with those buyers so that when the right opportunity comes along, we can present something that makes sense to them and fits their business objectives and their brand strategy.”

Wakeham said the convention center’s contemporary brand, high profile visibility and focus on the consumer aligned well with Shaw Communication Inc.’s own brand positioning, making it the perfect fit.

“The high profile location gives them an opportunity to host and impact the regulators in the telecommunications industry and to interact with them in a positive way, to showcase their brand, showcase their capabilities to that regulating group that are all located right there,” Wakeham added.

As part of the deal, Shaw Communications Inc. will showcase their products at the convention center. Most notably, Shaw Go Wi-Fi will be offered as a new feature of the venue, providing expanded free Wi-Fi areas throughout the building. According to Wakeham, the partnership will also be activating around Shaw’s new television plan. Satellite dishes will be installed on the building and will provide free access to that programming throughout the building. Shaw Communications Inc. owns and operates a number of major television stations as well, including a network and a number of specialty channels that will be used to build the convention center’s profile.

“Shaw is a blue-chip Canadian company,” said Carbonneau, “so being affiliated with them adds prestige to us and helps us reach segment markets that we weren’t really tapping into prior to this agreement, like telecommunications.”

Interviewed for the article: Sylvie Carbonneau, (613) 688-8220; Hugh Wakeham, (760) 832-7563