What would you do if you had $800 million lying around?

Soon to be Scotiabank Arena for only $800+ million? By comparison, Rogers bought former SkyDome for a mere $25 million.

Scotiabank should be ashamed. They recently had a bit of extra change overflowing their vaults from all those service charges to customers so they decided to invest it in marketing. They’ve purchased the rights to have the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team and Raptors basketball team, renamed Scotiabank Arena. I find this business decision to be an appallingly poor use of nearly a billion dollars. Let’s face it. We have five banks in Canada and because of excellent federal regulation our banks are strong and all five pretty much play on a level field. One’s as good as the next and they’re all pretty good. They pay reasonable dividends to investors and are less prone to financially raping their customers with dodgy lending schemes than the greedy American financial institutions. Therefore, how much do they need to market to a captive audience? To the tune of more than $800 million?

Off to a hockey game at Scotiabank Arena.

As a retired Corporate Marketing Manager I totally understand the merits of marketing and attaching your corporate name to a high-profile sports venue. Let’s leave that to the McDonald’s, the Coca-Cola’s and other brands like the beer companies who have a stake in the business. In the case of Scotiabank, their name on the Air Canada Centre would be flaunted in the faces of hundreds of thousands of commuters and visitors who drive past the old hangar on the Gardiner Expressway every day. Their head office tower in downtown Toronto with the reflective windows containing real gold is already an icon on the Toronto skyline. Do banks really need to promote to a captive audience with the kind of exposure offered by a sports and concert facility?

Imagine what else Scotiabank could have done with such an enormous amount of money if they put it to better use within the communities where they sell mortgages, finance car loans and invest our life savings. Have they ever considered a network of shelters for victims of domestic violence and homelessness? Scotiabank Shelters. Or what about investing in after school programs in economically and socially challenged neighbourhoods? Scotiabank Investing in Lives  programs. Many young people go to school hungry every day. Scotiabank Healthy School Meals. A large segment of our population is financially illiterate and have no hope of climbing out of the poverty and/or debt cycle. Perhaps support for education, mentoring and interning in financial institutions for young people? Scotiabank Banks on Futures.

Just imagine . . . Scotiabank Cancer Treatment Centre emblazoned on the front of the building.

More significantly, what about emblazoning the Scotiabank logo on a dedicated new cancer treatment facility? One billion dollars would fund one heck of a fine building. It could even include accommodation for family of out-of-town patients affected by onerous accommodation and parking costs at Toronto Hospitals—something like Ronald McDonald House for families of adult patients. Or they could build smaller facilities in rural communities that don’t have access to local treatment centres. I found Scotiabank’s choice of allocating nearly one billion dollars to having their name attached to a sports venue that charges hundreds and even thousands of dollars for tickets to events affordable by only the elite to be shameful and inappropriate. Banks have a greater corporate responsibility to serving their community and Scotiabank could have done so much more. It’s just wrong. Or am I?

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Michael Czopka (@mczopka)

Lynda, Lynda, Lynda, I believe that you are confusing two line entries in Scotiabank’s financial statements. Your blog discussion touches upon both marketing dollars and charitable contributions, and each one needs to be looked at separately. Scotiabank clearly posts their corporate social responsibility (http://www.scotiabank.com/corp/en/0,,11477,00.html) for all to see. Scotiabank focuses donations and sponsorships at the community level in the areas of education, health, social services and arts and culture. Socially, they partner with non-profit and charitable organizations that empower people with skills, tools and information to improve their health, safety and well-being. Scotiabank has been tying its brand to hockey… Read more »

Lynda Davis
5 years ago

I truly appreciate your thoughtful, well-researched comments but despite all your valid arguments in favour of the move, I’m still extremely uncomfortable about the outlay of nearly one billion dollars in what has become an elitist facility where average working parents can’t afford to take their children to see a game. Scotiabank’s support of hockey is admirable. Supporting elitism is not. I’m not convinced that money couldn’t have been better spent. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this issue, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and appreciate your position.

5 years ago

Right on, Lynda. Hope you did send it to Scotiabank.

Lynda Davis
5 years ago
Reply to  Maryse

I PM’d their marketing manager on Linked-In and tagged them. Who knows if they ever see it?

Lynda Davis Follow my blog at: http://www.boomerbroadcast.net Social commentary on life from a Boomer Broad’s perspective e-mail: lyndadavis1@yahoo.ca

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5 years ago

I would be sending this to the heads at Scotia and some of our newspapers. Just sayin.

Lynda Davis
5 years ago
Reply to  MaryAnne

I’ve been thinking the same thing. Thanks for the nudge.