University in talks to name MLG

With Maple Leaf Gardens completion delayed until the fall, associate news editor Rebecca Burton and sports editor Sean Tepper investigate Ryerson’s hunt for a name donor

According to senior administration, Ryerson University is well into discussions with an unnamed party for the naming rights to Maple Leaf Gardens (MLG).

The university’s new athletic centre will be getting one more name added to its historic title as Ryerson is on the hunt for a donor to complete their $20 million needed in fundraising.

Since the announcement of Ryerson’s acquisition of the famed Toronto landmark in fall 2009, the university has been searching for an individual or a company to sell the building’s naming rights.

“It’s absolutely true. We’re looking for a name donor,” said Ryerson’s president Sheldon Levy.

“Just like with the George Vari building or Heaslip House, you look for donors that give you a certain amount of money and in exchange you name the building in their honour.”

The total cost of this project, which amounts to $60 million, breaks down as follows: $20 million from the athletic referendum that was held in 2009, $20 million from government funding and the final $20 million from fundraising. The money that came from fundraising also includes the Loblaw Corporation Ltd.’s $5 million dollar contribution, while the $20 million that will be raised from the student referendum will be used to pay off the building’s mortgage over the next 30 years.

Adam Kahan, Vice-Provost University Advancement, said although Ryerson is in discussion with an ‘unnamed’ party, no current deal has been put in place.

“We’ve been looking for naming rights since the project started,” he said.

“[We are] … looking to offset our costs.”

The university will sell the naming rights but remain in close cooperation with the donor to see how the university can maintain the historical nature of Maple Leaf Gardens while arranging a way for all three names to be used officially.

“No one has signed a deal yet, ” said Levy.

“We’ve continued to talk to a number of individuals but until there’s a signed deal we can’t make any announcements,” said Levy.

Ivan Joseph, Ryerson’s athletics director, said even with the addition of a third party, Ryerson will continue to brand their name on the Gardens by making it a prominent name at the new facilities.

“You’ll always have Ryerson University in the name no matter what,” said Joseph.

“We are not giving away Ryerson’s name.”

The project has so far been postponed from March 2011 to November. Ryerson will also be searching for name donors for the Image Arts building and the Student Life Centre in the coming months.

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