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Vees sign four-year deal to stay in SOEC
After more than a year of negotiations, the Penticton Vees and the City of Penticton have signed off on a new agreement to keep the team at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The new deal is a four-year contract, longer than previous agreements, and includes a different revenue share for the Vees.
What that share is, or even if it is greater than in previous contracts, was not released. Dean Clarke, regional vice-president of Global Spectrum, which operates the SOEC for the city, said that is private information.
“We don’t want to go into too many details because it is proprietary, but I think the deal is good for both teams, the SOEC Global Spectrum team and certainly the Penticton Vees,” said Clarke. “It assures us excellent hockey here for four years.”
Fred Harbinson, the Vees coach, general manager and president, said the new deal will help with the marketing costs for the team, which the Vees organization will continue handling.
“We took a stronger stance in that department last year. We clearly spent a lot more dollars in the newspapers this year advertising our games,” said Harbinson, adding that they also spent more on radio marketing last season than for a full year in the past.
“There is a cost that goes along with that, but it is something that needs to be done,” said Harbinson. “With this deal, it makes it affordable for us to do that.”
Mayor Garry Litke said the deal is good news for hockey fans and the larger community.
“Reaching an agreement with the Vees means economic activity generated during home games will continue to benefit local businesses,” said Litke.
An 2012 economic impact study of the SOEC found that the Vees generated more than $2.7 million in economic activity in the South Okanagan region during their 2011 to 2012 season.
Harbinson said that the increased marketing efforts and lower ticket prices have generated positive growth for the Vees.
“We’ve already had a little over 90 per cent of our season tickets renewed from last year. We have a sales staff in place ready to hit the ground running next week,” he said, adding that the new four-year contract gives stability to the planning process for the Vees.
Since he started with the team in 2007, Harbinson said, there has been some sort of concern each summer, starting with moving into the new building in 2008.
“There has always been some sort of change. Now we have four years of direction and vision where we know how we are going to build our brand, build our business. In the end, it is going to be great for the community of Penticton.”