The site of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center is vacant land today, but naming rights for the facility are already under consideration by the EOTEC Authority board.

The board heard a report from funding subcommittee member Nate Rivera on Friday. Rivera has been in contact with two companies who specialize in crafting naming rights deals, “just to get an idea of how the process works.” After his presentation, the board asked him to prepare a request for proposal for companies interested in performing the process for EOTEC.

Rivera, who has an extensive background in sports public relations and has established contacts in the marketing world, said the process usually includes two phases.

The first involves an inventory of the facility, which includes type of facility, buildings to be included and an overall analysis of the market. They then decide what portions of the facility would possibly be available for naming rights for corporations, foundations and other entities looking to get their name in front of the public. They also develop at least a rough estimate of what the naming rights might be worth in each instance.

“They look at buildings, walkways, entrances — anything they can put a name on and we feel comfortable with, they move forward on,” Rivera said.

The second phase is the negotiation phase, when the price for the rights is agreed upon. Rivera said some companies are willing to split the two phases, with a set cost for the analysis/inventory and a percentage from the sales for negotiations. Others do both phases for a strict percentage of the final sale of the naming rights.

The initial study, Rivera said, could cost somewhere between $10,000 and $60,000, with 10 to 12 percent of the sales also going to the companies. He said the entire process would take about 12 to 18 months.

“Everyone I talked to said now is the time to start,” Rivera said.

Rivera will prepare an RFP in time for the board’s next meeting, June 22.

Also Friday:

• The board heard a report from hotelier committee chairman Vijay Patel, who asked that the difference between the Transient Room Tax — which hotels now pay — and the Tourism Promotion Assessment, still in the works, be made clear. Patel expressed a hope that the TPA, a $1 per night fee for hotels and motels in Hermiston, would be approved by the Hermiston City Council in time for it to go into effect in August. Patel has estimated that the TPA would generate about $55,000 in its first year. That money would go to EOTEC’s marketing efforts.

• The EOTEC budget committee approved an operating budget of $105,375 for fiscal year 2012-13.

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