Toledo’s Naming Quandary

Inconsistencies between a naming rights agreement for a new arena in Toledo, Ohio, and the lease between Lucas County and Toledo Arena Sports could theoretically kill the deal, county commissioners worry.

The recently signed deal creating the Huntington Center, with Huntington Bancshares of Columbus as the title sponsor, raised questions about whether Toledo Arena Sports, which leases the building, has the authority to make such a deal.

It’s no small change, either. The agreement calls for Huntington to pay an initial $2.1 million over six years for naming rights at the venue, which opened for hockey games and other events in the fall, according to the Toledo Blade.

But wording in one section of the arena’s lease document seems to indicate that such authority was never transferred from the county to Toledo Arena Sports, according to the paper.

County legal counsel is reviewing the documents, and though the worst-case scenario would be that the deal is invalid, one option is that the lease be amended to fit the naming rights agreement. It wasn’t certain whether the naming rights deal itself might have to be redone to fit the revised lease.

Either way, commissioners were to meet as early as May 25 to decide the matter.

“It just makes sure that the naming rights are done correctly,” county administrator Peter Ujvagi told the Blade.