Performing Arts Center working on naming-rights deal
By Suzy Valentine
A $20 million deal to name the Miami Performing Arts Center could be completed by year's end, said a spokesman for the arts center foundation.
Center representatives are in negotiations with a corporation and two individuals interested in buying naming rights for the downtown facility that's due to be completed Aug. 4 and open two months later.
"We're hoping to do it well before the center opens," said Al Milano, arts center foundation executive director. "We'd like to do this by 2006."
The rationale is to build brand awareness ahead of ticket sales, which are to begin in February. Naming rights are to cost a minimum of $20 million.
"The present value is at least that much," said Mr. Milano, "but it depends on when we sell and to whom, whether it is a one-off sale or term-limited."
Each of the three parties has a strong tie to South Florida, said Mr. Milano, and a concise name. Florida Department of Transportation signs that would guide patrons to the center dictate a strict letter count.
"All of the parties are very interested," said Mr. Milano, "and in each case, the name is one word or short words."
Sanford and Dolores Ziff and the Arison family, who owns Carnival Cruise Line, each signed on at $10 million to name the ballet opera house and concert hall, respectively.
The foundation's goal is to raise $85 million, $64.5 million of which is to go toward construction, the remainder to set up an endowment. It has raised almost $60 million.
Donor walls at the ballet opera house and the concert hall are among the programs attracting gifts for the foundation.
As part of the initiative, the foundation is appealing to organizations whose constituent members can make an aggregate gift.
The Miami-Dade and Miami Beach chambers of commerce have toured the arts center, and the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has made a $100,000 commitment to the project.
"Arts are very important to our community," said Steve Adkins, president of the gay and lesbian chamber. "We were asked by Harvey Burstein, a huge patron of the arts, who suggested that we make a legacy in perpetuity to lend support to the arts center."
"I come from Chicago, where the arts are well-funded and established," said Mr. Burstein, who runs a family foundation there. "I thought the chamber could help the arts center. Lots of people can afford $1,000 each, but some will give $250 while others will donate $10,000. You do what you can to participate."
Mr. Adkins agreed. "Our 350 members are countywide," he said, "and we're encouraging everyone to give what they can afford."
Cirque du Soleil and Clear Channel are among them.
The chamber has set a Dec. 31 target date.
"It's our hope to have raised $100,000 by the end of the year," said Mr. Adkins. "Once the hurricane's gone and post-Halloween, we're planning a series of house parties that could bring in $10,000 to $15,000 at a time."