Canucks and Beyond

GM Place Keeps its Name; Disaster Averted

06/01/2009 at 11:20pm EDT

General Motors’ historic bankruptcy filing should not affect the company’s significant investment and presence on the Vancouver sports scene, according to Vancouver Canucks and Vancouver 2010 Olympic officials.

GM Canada signed a 20-year, $18.5-million deal with Canucks owners in 1995 to call the team’s stadium General Motors Place through 2015.

—Bruce Constantineau, Vancouver Sun

Vancouver can breathe a sigh of relief then. We still get to keep the relatively cool nickname ‘The Garage,’ and it seems there’s no danger of something terrifying happening along the lines of ‘Gaylord Entertainment Center’, etc, in the near future.

Still, it was a close call. Two big local businesses were bidding fiercely for the right to put their name on the side of the Canucks’ posh arena, and both might have presented some controversy.*

Lululemon Place

Lululemon was founded in Vancouver back in 1998 and has since established retail locations all over the world. This company is now an indestructible force, a giant posse of yoga- and pillates- addicted women with a penchant for both fitness and for spending at least $150 a pair for workout pants, in at least 17 colors.

Clearly, the kind of customer that Canucks merchandisers would have wept tears of joy over.

But while there was much talk about signing the company to a deal landing their name on the building, there were far too many obstacles to overcome. Canucks jerseys, for one thing—after only recently crawling out of the cellar of godawful taste—would have discovered a whole new low. And the prospect of Mike Gillis and Tony Gallagher doing yoga demonstrations during intermissions was considered a high risk, one which no one wanted to take.

(And of course, the “lemon” jokes—but that’s just obvious.)

1-800-GOT-JUNK Place

A successful company with headquarters based on Granville Island in Vancouver, 1-800-GOT-JUNK appeared to be an ideal match for a sponsorship arrangement. A hometown company that’s achieved unparalleled success, with money in the bank and a bright future.

But the obvious problem was the company’s name. There are just so many ways to insult the Canucks with this sponsorship label, it was thought that the losses in merchandising sales alone would have sunk the team inside of five years. Jokes like “Check out that junk in his trunk!” (obnoxious insults directed at Kyle Wellwood during pre-seasons), and “We’re heading to Vancouver to play at 1-800-GOT-NO-SEDINS tonight!” (or whateverthehell; you get the drift… there were concerns.)

Nontheless, 1-800-GOT-JUNK was determined to take over the building and was said to have offered the Canucks over $70 million for just 3 years as incentive to break the deal with General Motors, but the hockey team remained unconvinced.

Apparently $70 million just wasn’t enough money to suffer 1-800-GOT-GOLF jokes for 8 months of the year.

*there’s a miniscule chance some of this report is inaccurate. but let’s not be picky…

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