Date Announced: July 12
Owner/Tenant: City of Richmond (through the CenterStage Foundation)/Broadway in Richmond
Terms: Altria is paying $10 million for the naming rights for 20 years. Payments will be made in $2-million installments for five years, starting this summer. The theater’s name will change to the Altria Theater next year, but the company’s tobacco products will not be featured in the facility.
Comments: The Landmark Theater in Richmond, Va., will become the Altria Theater in 2013, following a $10-million donation by the tobacco conglomerate Altria Group Inc.
Altria will own the naming rights for 20 years, and its donation will go toward a renovation and endowment fund for the 85-year-old theater. Terms of the deal call for the company to pay the $10 million in five annual installments of $2 million each beginning this month.
In addition to the naming rights, the company also will receive an allotment of premium seats to events, the use of the theater once per quarter and a couple of parking spaces, according to Richard Parison, executive director of the nonprofit CenterStage Foundation which oversees the theater.
Parison said Altria has a long history of helping the Landmark, and the company is represented on the theater’s board of trustees.
“Altria has been a tremendous corporate citizen to the Landmark Theater and all our venues,” Parison said, referring to the Fan District facilities group which includes the Carpenter Theatre, Rhythm Hall and Gottwald Playhouse, all in Richmond. “When we identified the naming rights as an opportunity, working with Altria was a natural match.”
While the theater will be called the Altria Theater beginning in 2013, none of the company’s tobacco products or logos, which includes the Marlboro brand, will be featured in the facility, according to Altria Chairman and CEO Martin Barrington. At a press conference this month announcing the deal, Barrington said the company wanted to keep sponsorship at the corporate level and not promote its brands at the theater.
The Altria donation, and $14 million from the City of Richmond which owns the theater, are going toward the Landmark Legacies Capital and Endowment Campaign, a $60-million effort to renovate the facility in two phases and boost its endowment.
Among the work currently being done to the theater are upgrades to the box office and acoustics, and improvements to the elevator, electrical and plumbing systems. The theater is currently closed during the renovation and will reopen in the fall. SMG manages the theater and the Carpenter Theatre.
“We are more than a third of the way to our goal,” Parison said. “There are a number of attractive opportunities for sponsorship, but we knew the naming rights was an integral part of the campaign.”
Parison said the theater will also sell the naming rights to the stage, which the facility plans to complete within the next several weeks.
The Landmark Theater hosts Broadway in Richmond, the Richmond Forum and several concerts and other theatrical events throughout the year.
Contact: Richard Parison, (804) 592-3330