Blazers Officially Announce Rose Garden Name Change To "Moda Center"

The Portland Trail Blazers officially announced the name change of the Rose Garden to the "Moda Center at the Rose Quarter" on Tuesday.

The Portland Trail Blazers officially announced the name change of the Rose Garden to the "Moda Center at the Rose Quarter" on Tuesday. The name change, the first since the building opened in 1995, is effective immediately.

The name change was first reported by Isaac Ropp of 1080 AM The Fan about two weeks ago. Representatives of the Blazers spent the last two weeks denying that report, likely because the deal wasn't finalized.

Ropp reported the deal was worth $4.2 million per year. Blazers president Chris McGowan told Blazersedge that the number was "in the ballpark" and "close" to the agreement's size but declined to give further specifics.

The Blazers held a press conference Tuesday morning.

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Updated....

Here's a transcript of the press conference.

Here's a one-on-one question-and-answer with McGowan regarding the name change.

The initial reaction to the name change on Twitter was decidedly negative.

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Here's the organization's press release.

Two of Oregon's most dynamic and innovative companies are banding together in a 10-year agreement that will energize Portland's hub for sports and entertainment, creating an urban showcase for healthy, active living. The Portland Trail Blazers and Moda Health have unveiled a community partnership that changes the name of the Rose Garden to the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, effective immediately.

The agreement was jointly announced during a press conference today in the center's South Atrium.  At the request of Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, the new logo for the Moda Center, when unveiled at a later date, will incorporate a rose as a salute to the city of Portland.

"These are the types of large-scale partnerships that are going to take our organization to the next level," said Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan. "This agreement enables us to reinvest in the company and the team at levels that impact every aspect of the fan experience, including the facilities, amenities, events and even the product on the court." 

Physical transformation of the renamed arena and Rose Quarter will begin immediately, with new signage and other visual elements being added gradually. New graphics for the home court surface of the Trail Blazers will debut in time for the team's 2013-14 regular season home opener on November 2 versus the defending Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs.

"Since our company was founded in 1955, we've invested in projects that create healthy people and healthy places," said Dr. William Johnson, President of Moda Health. "This partnership reaffirms our commitment to this community as we invite people now to join us in creating in the heart of our city a neighborhood that celebrates healthy urban living. We know that together we can be more. Be better."

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, in sounding his endorsement of the agreement, sees the new Moda Center as pivotal to the city's plans for the Northeast Portland neighborhood that has been the home of the Rose Quarter since 1995.

"We know it's always a blend of the right civic organizations and the right business partners," Mayor Hales said. "In that, I suppose, it's not too different from a coach picking a starting five. The Trail Blazers and Moda Health: that's a great combination."

When McGowan first arrived as Trail Blazers chief executive officer in November 2012, he placed a priority on finding a partner to revamp the Rose Quarter. To pilot that process, McGowan hired Los Angeles-based Premier Partnerships, one of the leading naming rights agencies in the country. Over the ensuing months, Premier Partnerships and the Trail Blazers engaged in presentations to and received proposals from numerous companies around the world.

"Though we never geographically limited the brands or companies willing to consider this opportunity, we hoped a locally-based partner would come to the forefront, and we are thrilled to be partnering with a company that shares our vision for the arena and the Rose Quarter," said McGowan.

Financial terms of the agreement between the Trail Blazers and Moda Health were not disclosed. The two partners are developing a diverse set of initiatives and enhancements that will serve as key connectors for the community to the venue. Those elements include:

·         Redesign and restoration of the landmark water and fire fountains outside the arena;

·         New food and beverage options for the Commons area and arena concessions;

·         Enhanced wayfaring signage and accessibility throughout the Rose Quarter;

·         Improvements to pedestrian traffic flow into the campus, including guests arriving from nearby commuter rail stations and bus stops;

·         Upgrading of the landscaping and grounds of the Rose Quarter; and

·         Seasonal community-building and entertainment programming on the Commons

ABOUT MODA HEALTH

Founded in 1955, Moda Health provides to almost 2 million members in Oregon, Washington and Alaska a wide range of medical, dental, pharmacy and vision health plans and services. With more than 1,400 employees, the company, headquartered in Portland, has offices in Medford, Ore., Milwaukie, Ore., Bend, Ore., and La Grande, Ore., as well as Seattle, Wash., Spokane, Wash., and Anchorage, Alaska. Companies in the Moda family include Payless Drug, a long term care pharmacy, and subsidiaries offering practice management solutions and professional liability insurance products, along with a wide range  of business services including benefits administration. For more information, visit www.modahealth.com.

ABOUT PREMIER PARTNERSHIPS

Premier Partnerships is a nationally recognized naming rights, sponsorship, and valuation firm specializing in the development and execution of customized commercial sales strategies for top tier facilities, sports and entertainment destinations, league and team properties, and municipal projects. With offices in Los Angeles and New York, Premier has been recognized as Sports Business Journal's Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services. Premier executives have created thousands of mutually beneficial business partnerships, including successful naming rights agreements at Dolby Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatre, O.Co Coliseum, Bridgestone Arena, Viejas Arena, FC Dallas Stadium (formerly Pizza Hut Park), Apogee Stadium, and PPL Park. Additional information is available at www.PremierPartnerships.com.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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