Council approves company to begin marketing ice arena

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE — The contract between the city and Rink Management Services, Inc. is complete after a unanimous vote by the council Wednesday.

The one-year deal allows the management company to take over the marketing responsibilities for the arena. The contract stipulates either party can terminate the contract with 30-day notice.

The city agreed to pay the company $1,450 a month and an undisclosed commission rate on any revenue above $725,000. Rink Management is required to submit any additional expenditures to the council for approval.

The council moved forward with the agreement after agreeing the city could not keep losing money on the property.

“The most important thing, right now, is to make the arena sustainable,” City Administrator Jim Beri said. “We have a lot of competition from other cities and need a dedicated team to market its strengths, like the soccer field, to keep it a viable part of this city.”

Jim Littlejohn, the marketing director for Rink Management Services, said the the company will only act as marketing consultants for the arena. The company has no intentions of removing the arena’s staff, he said, and would only recommend to the council how to spend money to market the property correctly.

The arena had profits of about $33,000 in 2007, but Finance Director Richard Ortiz said the arena started losing about $150,000 yearly after that.

Previous financial statements show the arena is capable of generating $725,000, Littlejohn said, and could produce significantly more than that if the right marketing strategies are in place.

Littlejohn said the company would explore options for a corporate partnership and possibly renaming the facility. He wanted to pursue sponsorships from multiple companies to help with the arena’s costs and advertise the arena through social media outlets and email notifications .

“We want to reach out and engage the community,” Littlejohn said. “This is an amenity they have to embrace and get involved with.”

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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