Stage set for Zumwalt amphitheater naming deal

Photo by Rigo Moran

Adventist Health West eyes the naming rights for Zumwalt Park Amphitheater, Tulare City Council reviews the deal before finalization

TULARE – Tulare City Council has taken its first look at potential naming rights for the Zumwalt Park Amphitheater deal with Adventist Health West, setting the stage for a promising partnership.

Though the deal isn’t finalized, the council viewed the terms of the deal for the first time on June 18. Adventist Health West will pay $100,000 per year for five years to have the hospital group’s name on the structure. The deal also includes signage including an electronic billboard at the park and “wayfinder” signs that will help direct visitors to the park, City Manager Marc Mondell reported to the council.

“There are several ways in which the city will generate revenue from the use of the amphitheater,” Mondell said. “We have a contract with an operator called Spade Entertainment, the city will receive all the parking revenue if there is any parking revenue related to events, we will receive a portion of ticket sales revenue, the city will receive 20% of sponsorships. Another way the city will receive revenue is through naming rights. The city has the exclusive right to naming rights.”

Mondell said that Adventist Health West was immediately on the radar when the search for a naming rights sponsor began because of the significant investment the hospital group has made in Tulare over the last five years. Adventist Health West took over the hospital and is investing significant capital to expand and modernize the facility including building The Tower, a $125 million complex that will provide substantial expansion to emergency room services and modern medical rooms. 

The council was presented with a non-binding terms sheet at the council meeting. The council agreed with the proposed terms, which will then go to the city attorneys and will be negotiated with Adventist Health West attorneys. Once the contract is finalized, it will return to the council for final approval.

Mondell pointed out that when the final agreement comes back to the council, it will include an amendment to the contract with Spade Entertainment, as the company will also be responsible for some of the costs of the signage.

Jason Wells, president of the Central Valley Network of Adventist Health said the hospital organization was excited about the proposed naming rights as a way to strengthen ties with the city.

“It makes a lot of sense for us to do this partnership, it’s an honor to be – with your permission – to be a part of naming this,” Wells said to the council. “We are excited about that opportunity. We are deeply committed to the community of Tulare. We love the partnership, we love the relationship. This is just step one of many opportunities.”

Adventist Health West operates eight hospitals from Fresno to Bakersfield, including the only hospitals in communities such as Tulare, Visalia and Reedley.

“This is just another example of what Adventist has been doing in this community since it has taken over the hospital,” Councilmember Dennis Mederos said. “The investment in this community from a financial standpoint has been immense. … I don’t think there is any question about that, and to have this type of partnership between our city and Adventist itself, is great for both sides.”

Wells added that the commitment to the amphitheater goes beyond just the fees and the naming rights. Adventist will also provide on-site medical services including a defibrillator and staff to ensure that visitors who suffer a medical emergency won’t have to wait for an ambulance to receive care.

The city will have some cost involved in the signage, which will somewhat reduce the revenue of the naming rights, but the exact number won’t be available until a final contract is presented to the city council. Mondell said the process of working out the final language could take between one and two months. Once the final language to the contract is in place and an amendment to the contract with Spade is written, the council will be presented with firm revenue numbers from the naming rights agreement. 

The amphitheater project had a construction cost of nearly $12 million and is expected to open in the fall of 2024. The Sun-Gazette previously reported that Spade Entertainment has already booked several events. The debut concert will feature multiple artists and is titled “Tulare Country Nights 2024.” A lineup of artists is available on the Spade Entertainment website.

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