EVERETT — Goodbye, Xfinity Arena. Hello, Angel of the Winds Arena.
The casino north of Arlington has announced that it will pay $3.4 million for naming rights of the publicly owned downtown Everett arena through 2028.
Angel of the Winds replaces Comcast as the naming sponsor. The building was first Comcast Arena in 2007 but was renamed Xfinity Arena in 2014. Xfinity is Comcast’s broadband and cable TV service.
“Obviously, a naming rights sponsor is the largest sponsor we have in the building,” said Rick Comeau, general manager of the arena. His company, Spectra, oversees day-to-day operations of the event center. “It’s not just an advertiser in our opinion. It’s a true partner of the facility. We’re looking forward to that relationship with them.”
Angel of the Winds, which is owned by the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, has been a sponsor at the arena for the past five years.
With this deal, the casino gets to plaster its name on the outside of one of the most prominent buildings downtown. The casino’s name also will be on every ticket sold and on the arena website.
“These kinds of opportunities aren’t this common,” said Shawn Yanity, chairman of the Stillaguamish. “You don’t get too many opportunities to market our casino, but also partner with an organization like this. In a way, it’s a joint business venture. We’ll be working together. It’s nice to take advantage of this.”
Angel of the Winds general manager Travis O’Neil hinted there will be other announcements on the horizon after this media splash.
“We are looking at plans to expand some amenities at the casino itself, but we’re not ready to divulge the details,” O’Neil said.
Angel of the Winds has a lounge area that seats only about 100 people. So it will be beneficial to partner with an event center that can hold up to 10,000, O’Neil said.
The casino already has talked about creating hotel packages where guests can stay at its three-year-old hotel and be shuttled to concerts or other events at the arena. It’s less than 20 miles between the locations. Those plans will have to wait for now. They’ve been focused on the details of the naming rights deal, O’Neil said.
The partnership with the casino also should help the arena bring more acts and more people to downtown Everett, Comeau said.
“We were looking for somebody who would assist us in attracting different entertainment to the market,” Comeau said. “They obviously have a large player’s club and a lot of VIPs who attend their casino. This is an opportunity to work together to provide some entertainment for their player’s club, their VIPs and also bring events to the city of Everett.”
The arena, which is owned by the Everett Public Facilities District, a municipal corporation, has a mission to bring people to downtown, increase local entertainment options and spur economic development. It hosts hundreds of events a year, most notably Everett Silvertips games.
Since 2010, the arena has only turned a profit twice — $129,465 in 2015 and $100,157 in 2016. The facilities district is still paying about $18 million in construction debt. The arena, which opened in 2003, cost $71.5 million to build.
Comcast paid $7.4 million in cash and advertising for a decade of naming rights.
While Comcast opted not to re-up, Angel of the Winds saw an opportunity to promote its name in a high-profile fashion.
“Once the door closed with the previous advertiser, we told them to let us know and see what we can do,” O’Neil said. “We wanted to make a statement and take advantage of it. It’s a great opportunity and a long-term opportunity. Ten years down the road, we’ll still be talking about Angel of the Winds.”
Angel of the Winds has been approached often by groups who want them to be a sponsor for sporting and other events, Yanity said.
This one stood out because the arena is such an important asset for Snohomish County, he said.
“This is more of a community partnership,” Yanity said.
Jim Davis: 425-339-3097; firstname.lastname@example.org; @HBJnews.