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Sanford Center: VenuWorks, BSU come to agreement on ad sales

BEMIDJI – VenuWorks and Bemidji State University have agreed on a new system for selling advertising in the Sanford Center.

Under the agreement discussed Monday during a Sanford Center Advisory Board meeting, the director of sales and marketing for the Sanford Center, currently Cyrus Pansch, will take the lead in managing most advertising inventory for BSU athletics at the arena and elsewhere.

Previously, both BSU and Sanford Center staff would sell advertising for athletic events, causing some competition between the two and confusion among customers, said Andy Long, the acting executive director for the Sanford Center.

“It’s kind of one-stop shopping now,” he said. “We’ve got one sales person that’s representing both entities within the facility.”

The agreement lasts from the 2012 hockey season until the end of the 2015 academic year, according to an agreement outline. It calls for BSU to pay an annual base fee of $30,000 and 10 percent commission on ad sales.

“Basically by doing this deal, it helps BSU out because they don’t have to hire somebody to do that selling now,” Long said. “That’s where part of that payment comes to us to help compensate and cover that.”

The agreement extends beyond the Sanford Center, said Bill Maki, BSU vice president of finance and administration. The BSU athletic inventory includes scoreboard signage for hockey, football, basketball and volleyball, as well as posters, schedule cards and game programs, according to an agreement outline.

“Based on the market that we’re in, a lot of the same individuals are contacted about advertising,” Maki said. He added that BSU staff will still be selling ads for various fundraisers and be involved in developing strategy.  

BSU and VenuWorks signed the deal more than a week ago, but the amount of commission VenuWorks will collect is still being discussed.

Under a previous agreement with the city, VenuWorks gets 10 percent commission on advertising within the city-owned Sanford Center, Long said. City Manager John Chattin said Wednesday that, on the surface, that allows VenuWorks to collect 10 percent of that 10 percent commission they bring in from the BSU deal.

“We just haven’t worked that out yet,” Chattin said. 

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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