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L.A. Shrine Auditorium to sell naming rights and try to lure back Oscars and Emmys

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Historic Los Angeles home of Oscars and Emmys to sell naming rights

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gary Gentile, Canadian Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Shrine Auditorium, whose Moroccan-style facade has been seen by millions as the home of the Emmy Awards and other glittering Hollywood events, could soon sport the name of a corporate sponsor.

The organization that runs the venue is hoping a single sponsor would be willing to spend anywhere from US$2.5 million to $4 million per year to place its name on the enormous facility.

The goal is to raise the Shrine's profile, pay for upkeep and needed improvements and, the owners hope, even lure the Academy Awards back to its stage.

"The real goal here is to make this building the cultural centre of Los Angeles that it used to be," said Duke Collister, general manage of the facility.

The Shrine has hosted several Oscar ceremonies, as well as the Emmys, People's Choice awards and the Miss Universe pageant. It has the largest stage in North America and seats 6,300. The building is part of a larger campus that also includes an adjacent 4,860-square-metre hall where the annual Emmy Governor's Ball is held.

The building is owned by the Al Malaikah Auditorium Co., a for-profit arm of the Shriners, a national fraternal organization. The company leases the Shrine for local as well as national events and is profitable.

But the 80-year-old building needs constant maintenance and technical upgrades to meet the increasing demands of Broadway musicals and live television events.

Collister said he has been in touch with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which holds the annual Academy Awards show, about possibly luring the event back to the Shrine.

The Oscars were last held at the Shrine in 2001 and moved the following year to the newly built Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

Collister is optimistic in part because of the Shrine's seating capacity. The Kodak Theater holds far fewer than the Shrine, a fact that caused a crush for tickets when the show first moved.

The Shrine is one of the last major venues in the Los Angeles area to sell naming rights.

In 2005, Universal Studios sold naming rights to its Universal Amphitheatre concert venue to Gibson Guitar Corp. in a 10-year deal valued at more than $14 million.

Office supply chain Staples Inc. paid $100 million for naming rights for 20 years to the downtown L.A. arena that hosts basketball teams and the annual Grammy Awards, which were once held at the Shrine.

As with other arenas, the Shrine is also selling other sponsorships, including its midway area where the red carpet is laid down and the backstage green room.

"With hundreds of thousands of visitors annually and more nationally televised awards shows than any other facility, the Shrine provides unrivaled visibility for corporations," said Scott Cooper, executive vice president of MJA Advertising, which is handling the Shrine's account.

Cooper said he hopes to have deals in place within the next year.

The Canadian Press 2006

Further Reading:

The Royal Order of Jesters - The Shriners Secret Society Secret Society - 'Mirth is King'

The Shriners - The 'Krafty' Klowns