The City of Sioux Falls is spending more than $20,000 to find a name for the outside of the new events center.
It's on top of $65,000 spent last year to hire a firm to study the idea and even more money will be spent hiring a company to secure naming rights for the inside of the building.
This week, the city announced it hired Legends Sales and Marketing to sell the naming rights to the outside of the building. After that's secured, Legends will likely be paid even more to sell naming rights in other parts of the building.
At least one city council member is questioning the move but city officials say this was all part of the plan.
City council chair Michelle Erpenbach says Legends Sales and Marketing will be paid $22,000 to help the city finalize a deal in the next six weeks for the main naming rights on the building.
"The Legends group will come in and help them tie up those details so that by the time we have that groundbreaking in August we will have that big name on the outside, and that's all those folks are going to be helping us with for this particular small contract," Erpenbach said.
Last June the Superlative Group was paid $65,000 to study the naming rights and gave the city council a presentation on how much money the events center could make off sponsorships. In a video from the June 20, 2011 meeting, Superlative also talked about selling the rights.
"When they are doing the final design of the facility we'll find a big wall that would be a mural,” Myles Gallagher with the Superlative Group explained to the council on June 20, 2011. “We'll sell a sponsor to the mural. Our people have a knack for finding out what else can we sell. I mean we're paid sales people.”
New city council member Kermit Staggers is wondering why the Superlative Group was hired if the city is now hiring a new firm to finalize naming rights.
"I think it's important for the city council to find out what happened with the contract with Superlative because at this time it doesn't appear that the city council got anything out of that contract,” Staggers said.
Erpenbach says Superlative gave the city information on the price they could get for events center sponsorships.
"All Superlative did was analysis. They really looked at it and went okay, we think you could make it this big. We think you could sell that outside for this much. We think you could sell seats for this much. They just did that sort of 'what if,'" Erpenbach said.
Erpenbach says it was always the plan to do a separate contract with a company to actually go out and sell the naming rights.
"What we want to do is to hire the people who know how to do it, that they're going to get the best bang for our dollar and they're going to do the best job for us," Erpenbach said.
City officials say they believe they will save money on this deal with Legends because the $22,000 price tag is a flat fee and the company is not charging commission to finalize the naming rights because the city has done much of the work already.
Officials say the Superlative Group did compete to sell the naming rights too, but lost the bid to Legends Sales and Marketing.