Evraz will no longer be the title sponsor of the area where Regina Exhibition Association Limited is located.
The place formerly known as Evraz Place will now be known as the REAL District. The rebranding was announced Wednesday at a media conference.
The Evraz name has been getting extra notice in recent weeks as the ownership has ties to minority owner and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and that country’s oligarchy, the change wasn’t something that happened overnight, explained REAL CEO Tim Reid.
“After months of consultation, surveys to staff, stakeholders and the public, (and) after reviewing name options and logo options, our board of directors approved the choice in December of last year,” said Reid.
It was just over 15 years ago when steelmaking company IPSCO ponied up $2.5 million for a front-loaded naming rights contract. A couple of years later, Evraz North America bought up IPSCO and with it, the naming rights. Reid said the rights expired last May and Evraz was given the opportunity to renew the agreement but declined.
“Because of (Evraz), we’re on the path that we are today,” Reid said. “As a large employer and economic engine within our city, and community investors, we are thankful for the partnership we shared with Evraz North America.”
The timing for this decision was not totally co-incidental to the situation in Ukraine.
“With the recent human crisis in Ukraine, we felt this was the right decision…,” Reid said. “Our world is in a very precarious place. Finding its way out of a global pandemic and now witnessing the challenges we do on a global stage. The images that we see on the news and social media are gut-wrenching and challenging to all of us… they’re a reminder to us here about how important it is to enjoy what we get to do each day.”
Reid said that while staff have been working for months on this change, they needed a name and logo that reflected where they were going.“
Reid said they looked at best practices in North America, such as the Edmonton Ice District, the Kansas City Light and Power District and Ottawa’s Lansdowne.
“These spaces aren’t what they used to be, and they’re changing and we need to change with them if we want to remain competitive in this marketplace,” he said.
REAL district Reid said full rebranding and new signage will be switching over in the coming months. He also said he’s hopeful that an announcement will be coming soon about a hotel that will go on their location.