Birch Run Expo Center Is Renamed Frankenmuth Credit Union Event Center

Birch Run Event Center
– Birch Run Event Center

A small entertainment and trade show facility in Michigan has signed a regional credit union to a 10-year naming rights deal. The former Birch Run Expo Center, situated in a small town about 85 miles north of Detroit, is now the Frankenmuth Credit Union Event Center.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Elsewhere, naming rights for credit unions at sports and entertainment venues have sold for $7 million over 10 years for an arena in Hauppauge, N.Y., with a low end of about $640,000 over eight years for a high school football stadium in Albuquerque, N.M., according to research compiled by Apex Marketing Group. Apex sold the naming rights on behalf of GVB Development Group, the building’s owner. OVG Facilities operates the facility after acquiring Pinnacle Venue Management in October. Oak View Group owns OVG Facilities in addition to Pollstar and Venues Today.

The Birch Run building originally opened in 1997 as the first NHL Skate Center, marketed to promote interest in hockey and skating. Over time, the ice sheets were removed and the facility has become more of a trade show destination, said Eric Smallwood, president of Apex Marketing Group. The building has 100,000 square feet of exhibit space with capacity of about 5,000 for special events.

Frankenmuth Credit Union was founded in 1964 by the employees of Carling Brewery. Over the past 53 years, it’s grown to serve more than 43,000 members with 18 locations in the Great Lakes Bay Region.As part of the naming rights agreement, Frankenmuth Credit Union’s name and logo will be installed the marquee outside the building and signs along I-75 near the facility, as well as inside the venue. The credit union’s brand will also adorn the building’s web site, on event tickets and all marketing materials. Print, television and radio advertising are included in the package.

For Apex Marketing Group, which specializes in brand analytics for events and brands, the agreement marks the company’s first naming rights deal since it was founded two years ago, Smallwood said.The deal took nine months to close from the time Apex and the credit union first started talks, he said.