The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are in favour of a big screen in the Alberni Valley Multiplex.
The request for a big screen first came to Port Alberni city council on Monday, July 13, but council was reluctant to make the $200,000 purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed digital LED screen would be located on the end wall of Weyerhaeuser Arena beside the scoreboard.
During another council meeting on Monday, July 27, Alberni Valley Bulldogs president David Michaud explained that the club suffered a six figure loss during the 2019-2020 season, between COVID-19 and the ammonia leak in November.
With a big screen, Michaud said the Bulldogs would be able to generate between $25,000 and $30,000 a year in revenue. Although the screen would be a city-owned asset, the Bulldogs will compensate the city with their increased revenue.
“The [screen] would be a valuable asset to our Bulldogs marketing inventory,” Michaud said.
The screen would allow for in-game experiences like kiss cams, noise metres and instant replays. Michaud also pointed out that the city will have a better ability to host big events that could generate even more revenue.
Eleven of the arenas within the BCHL already have big screens. Within the Island division, Victoria and Powell River’s arenas are both equipped with a big screen.
Councillors acknowledged that the screen will benefit both the city and the Bulldogs, but stated that they are not ready to make a big purchase at this time.
“I support the concept, and I realize the pandemic won’t be around forever, but I think the cost is still a major point of concern,” said Councillor Helen Poon.
“Maybe now is just not the most appropriate time,” added Councillor Debbie Haggard.
Councillor Cindy Solda pointed out that the Bulldogs are not the only organization that has lost revenue during the pandemic.
“That’s happening with every other business in our community,” she said. “A lot of businesses and societies are taking a hit.”
Council is still waiting to hear the results of a request for proposals (RFP) for the naming rights of the Alberni Valley Multiplex. The purchase of a digital screen could be part of this sponsorship, said Mayor Sharie Minions.
“We’re expecting that to come back in August,” said Minions. “From my perspective, it makes sense to talk about this all together.”