Asheville Daily Planet
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Tuesday, 04 June 2019 11:49

From Staff Reports

Asheville City Council voted 6-1 on May 28 to award its second-ever naming rights agreement of the city-owned Civic Center to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, which is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,

”Once the new contract goes into effect, the U.S. Cellular Center will be renamed the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville,” Asheville television station WLOS News 13 reported.

Meanwhile the Asheville Citizen Times noted: “It is a five-year proposal worth $3.25 million, and up to $5.75 million with mutual extensions for the rights to some 180 million annual impressions which come from having its name plastered on the building as well as in advertising, ticket stock and venue uniforms.”

The first city naming rights pact was — and is — with U.S. Cellular. It expires on Dec. 31, 2019. That nine-year agreement is valued at $1.35 million, or about $150,000 a year. 

The only other offer besides Harrah’s was from U.S. Cellular, which bid about $1 million for a five-year extension of its current naming rights contract.

“Only Councilwoman Julie Mayfield voted against the Harrah’s bid, citing a desire to find a more compatible corporate partner for the city’s culture,” the Citizen Times reported. “The Harrah’s offer drew criticism from local tourism officials, who argued the Harrah’s brand was ‘inconsistent’ with Asheville’s identity.”

A week before council’s deciding vote, the Asheville Downtown Commission voted 6-1 in favor of Harrah’s bid, which followed on the heels of the Civic Center Commission’s previous 3-2 vote in favor of U.S. Cellular’s return proposal.

Meanwhile, Chris Corl, general manager of the U.S. Cellular Center, said in a news release, “We are very excited to embark on this new adventure with Harrah’s Cherokee. As part of the new agreement, there are several new fan experience initiatives that we will be able to bring into fruition. The Harrah’s Cherokee brand has a strong, supportive position in Western North Carolina, and we are excited to be a part of that relationship.”


 point, a dozen residents in a row spoke against it.



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