Canucks venue renamed Rogers Arena

Rogers inks 10-year sponsorship deal with NHL franchise

TORONTO -- What's in a name?

Toronto-based Rogers Communications has acquired the naming rights to the home of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks franchise, and renamed the complex Rogers Arena.

The downtown arena was previously known as GM (General Motors) Place since opening its doors in 1995.

Canadian cable sports channel Rogers Sportsnet, part of the Rogers Communications empire, is also a major local broadcaster of Canucks games.

No price tag was put on the 10-year Vancouver signage and sponsorship deal with the Canucks. But Rogers made the deal in the backyard of its biggest western Canadian rival, phone giant Telus Corp.

Rogers, Canada's largest cable and mobile phone provider, already has its name on Rogers Center in Toronto, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays pro baseball franchise which it also owns and operates.

And Bell Canada, Rogers' arch-rival in eastern Canada, paid to have its name on the Bell Center in Montreal, the home of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens club.

The use of pro sport team homes for branding and media impressions comes as Rogers, Telus and Bell Canada -- the Big Three media players here -- face increasing competition from upstart players to offer Canadians bundled packages of TV, Internet access, home and mobile phone services.

Western Canadian cable giant Shaw Communications is preparing to go to market with its own mobile phone offering, and Groupe Videotron, the Quebec cable giant, is making its own quad-play overtures in province, Bell Canada's backyard.
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