Great Park Could be ‘Presented by UCI Health’ Under Sponsorship Deal

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Main News Photo

(Orange County Register)

Under a 10-year, multi-million dollar deal, UCI Health could become the Great Park’s top sponsor, giving the medical center a range of branding perks that include featuring its name on the park’s logo beside the words “presented by.”

Irvine’s City Council on Sept. 28, will consider approving the sponsorship agreement, under which UCI Health would pay roughly $5.7 million over the next decade with the opportunity for the city to extend the contract for two more five-year terms.

The deal would allow the medical center to host and take part in health and wellness initiatives, including seminars and multiple events for a designated Annual Wellness Month presented by UCI Health for city employees, which would align with Irvine’s open enrollment period, said Pam Baird, Irvine’s director of community services.

The health center could choose to support city-organized events like blood drives, health screening, and vaccination programs, and air ambulance services, among others, according to a staff report.

And broadly, UCI Health would provide its health expertise to the city over the next decade, as it is doing now for COVID-19 best practices.

“Once the Great Park board approves this agreement, our plan is to really start delving in with UCI Health, to really determine at a more detailed level, what does this all mean, what are these events going to look like, and start really planning on those,” Baird said.

The sponsorship comes amid expansion plans for UCI Health. The medical center is building a new health complex near the northern edge of its university campus, which will feature a 144-bed hospital, specialized oncology and neuroscience services, children’s health, and urgent care facilities.

John Murray, spokesman for UCI Health, said the medical center “is excited at the prospect of working with the city of Irvine to promote health and wellness at the Great Park,” but he declined to talk more about the deal until after the meeting Tuesday.

The agreement would mean $500,000 to the city the first year, with annual payments increasing by 3% until they reach $652,386 in the 10th year. The Superlative Group, a firm consulting the city on Great Park sponsorship opportunities, would receive 10% of the payments.

The remaining funds would be allocated “to enhance the budget” for the City Council’s executive assistance staff, according to the staff report. The choice to designate the sponsorship revenue there was made by the City Council, Baird said.

City leaders this summer voted to drop “Orange County” from the park’s moniker, saying Irvine should be recognized for operating the amenity, which lies within its city limits.

City leaders are still shopping branding opportunities for a number of other Great Park fixtures, including the soccer, baseball, and softball stadiums, light pole banners, the farmers market and more, Baird said.

“We went with the presenting sponsor, but there are still naming right opportunities on the stadiums, billboards,” she said. “We’re just looking at a variety of different options.”

Branding of public spaces seems to be becoming more common, said Niklas Myhr, a marketing professor at Chapman University, “at the same rate as the willingness to pay tax dollars for it has gone down.”

The concept can be seen as a “win-win” by the public, who can enjoy the benefits of a park, for example, while the money to operate it comes out of someone else’s pocket, he said. So long as the brand is compatible with the use of the space. A tobacco company, for instance, may not be popular for a kid’s soccer field, he noted.

Myhr said sponsorships are playing a bigger role in more spaces that were previously void of ads “as costs go up, and organizations, nonprofits and for-profits alike are looking for other ways to sustain themselves and grow.”


UCI and Chapman University are platinum-level Leaders Circlepartners of the Greater Irvine Chamber.


 

Category: Economic Development, Leaders Circle, Greater Irvine Chamber, Great Park in Irvine, Irvine Valley College, UCI, UCI Health, Chapman University