In an effort to create more revenue for the athletics program, the University of New Brunswick has sold the naming rights of the Aitken Centre to singer and political legend Clay Aiken.
Details of the agreement between Aiken and UNB were revealed at a news conference last week. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports indicate that the 37-year deal is worth around $7,000 per year.
“I’m excited to be a part of the University of Nebraska family,” said Aiken via Skype. “Go Huskers!”
Aiken was later informed that UNB was in New Brunswick and not Nebraska and issued an apology.
The deal will see the Aitken University Centre renamed to the Aiken University Centre. Aiken said he considered purchasing the naming rights to Aitken House and the Sir Max Aitken Pool but didn’t want get involved with any buildings that far down the hill.
UNB said they will spend up to $10 million over the next year on replacing signage and informing the public of the name change. A promotional campaign will begin in May.
“It’s vital that the public not only know of the name change but also pronounce it correctly,” said a UNB spokesperson. “Having Clay join the university family is invaluable.”
Although excited, Aiken said he is quite concerned about the building’s name being mispronounced.
“This is an investment and I want it to pay off,” he said. “It’s all about the brand.”
Part of the deal will also see the rink renamed “Aiken Memorial Centre” if the singer dies before the contract expires.
Student reaction to the announcement has been mixed.
“To be honest, this is the greatest day of my life,” said one student. “American Idol season two was boss, man. Clay was robbed in the finale, but I think he has won at life, you know?”
Many students questioned the need to spend $10 million to inform the public of the name change.
“Like, whaaaaaat. C’mon, bud,” said another student.