The Government of British Columbia has given the green light to BC Place Stadium securing a naming rights sponsor for the first time, seven years on from ending talks on a prospective deal for the Vancouver venue.

The government has granted approval to B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), owner and operator of the stadium, to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to select a naming rights sponsor.

The government said the addition of a naming rights sponsor is an opportunity for PavCo to attract private investment to offset costs related to the 54,500-seat facility’s operations. Funding could then be redirected to support other key government priorities.

“This naming rights sponsorship opportunity will make more funds available for government to improve the services that British Columbians count on,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

“We believe this is an excellent time to look for the right corporate partner for this important facility in B.C., and through that sponsorship, generate significant benefit for British Columbians.”

PavCo will manage the process in consultation and with appropriate approvals from government. The RFP has been published with presentations from interested parties set for next month ahead of a shortlist of candidates being drawn up in June.

The winning party will be announced in July with the process set to incorporate, as applicable, the government’s Naming Privileges Policy. Under this policy, companies that promote alcohol or other addictive substances are not permitted to name any venue that hosts events primarily aimed towards children.

More than one million people attend events at BC Place annually, including games of the stadium’s two resident teams, the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League and Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer. BC Place, which first opened in June 1983, also hosts the annual Canada Sevens, which is part of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

In 2012, the government ended talks with telco Telus over a prospective 20-year naming rights deal. The contract was to be worth C$35m (£20.5m/€23.3m/$26.5m) but wasn’t deemed to be of sufficient value.

Commenting on the latest process, Ian Aikenhead, PavCo chair, said: “BC Place is a vibrant, world-class facility, and is one of only a few venues of this size and profile in North America yet to capitalise on this valuable type of revenue opportunity.”

Image: BC Place