By Dave Sutor at The Tribune Democrat
Cambria County War Memorial Arena’s authority and the county commissioners are exploring the possibility of attaching naming rights to the venerable facility that honors the area’s military personnel.
But they emphasize that – in no way – will the name “Cambria County War Memorial Arena” be removed or altered.
Rather, it would be combined with the sponsor’s branding in some way.
“It’s more about identifying the folks that have the wherewithal and can see the value in putting their name on this facility with its history,” said Steve St. John, the arena’s general manager. “Who wouldn’t want to put their name with the War Memorial? That’s about as patriotic as you could get.”
Cambria County Commissioner Tom Chernisky added: “That’s the way it should be. It’s a memorial to veterans. It’s a memorial. The name will never go away. It will just be an addition to it if we ever do have naming rights here.”
Letters were sent out to almost two dozen veterans groups and individuals, asking for input as to what they thought about naming rights.
All but one of those who responded offered support, provided the name “Cambria County War Memorial Arena” remains intact, according to arena officials.
“Having the veterans support us on that makes it much easier, without a doubt,” said Dean Gindlesperger, the authority’s chairman.
Naming rights are being considered in an attempt to generate revenue and lessen the financial burden on the county.
“Just about every venue that you can think of anymore has someone sponsoring the naming rights,” Gindlesperger said. “We’re one of the few that don’t.”
The process is in the early stages.
Arena officials need to finalize a new contract with their primary tenant, the Johnstown Tomahawks hockey team, before they know exactly what kind of plan can be submitted to prospective sponsors.
“What we’re looking for is what are going to be our deliverables to that naming rights sponsor,” St. John said. “Is it a suite? It could be some signage, some different things. We need to identify that inventory going in and then be open for new ideas as well.