NOW puts name on Sears Centre, paving way for new Chicago trade show venue

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

NOW mock up
NOW mock up

Related tags trade shows coronavirus Chicago

NOW Health Group, Inc. just announced it will take over naming rights to the Sears Centre Arena, an 11,000-seat multi-purpose family entertainment, cultural, and sports arena located in Hoffman Estates, a northwest Chicago suburb.

The family-owned natural products manufacturer based in Bloomingdale, Ill. has a portfolio of more than 1,500 products including supplements, sports nutrition, foods, beauty and health products, and essential oils.  

Computer generated photo

“This venue is very close to all of our Illinois facilities, and its 11,000 capacity makes it a better naming rights fit for a company of our size than, for example, the United Center in downtown Chicago,” ​said Dan Richard, NOW Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing. “We’re all tremendously excited to see the NOW brand so visibly represented in the community.” 

The deal is part of a 15-year agreement. The NOW Arena contract, valued at $11.25 million over the term, takes over from Transformco (formerly Sears Holdings Corp.), the arena naming rights partner since the venue opened in 2006.

Transformco had two years left on its current agreement. Under that contract, negotiations with other parties was prohibited. However, Richard explained to NutraIngredients-USA​ that back in 2018 he contacted the Village of Hoffman Estates about the naming rights after Sears went bankrupt. “That contract had a provision that allowed for early termination due to bankruptcy. The Village and NOW petitioned Sears to allow NOW to take over naming rights early and, since NOW is not a competing retailer, Sears was amenable. The negotiation was handled agreeably between all parties.”

“I am excited to welcome NOW Health Group as the new naming rights partner of the arena. There is a lot of coordination that goes into an agreement like this and NOW Health Group has been creative, engaged, and exciting to work with,”​ said Bill McLeod, Mayor of Hoffman Estates.

NOW’s role

Jim Emme, CEO of NOW said, “The NOW Arena will continue to be a resource for them to enjoy family-friendly entertainment, high school graduations, concerts and sporting events, while also providing them with opportunities to learn more about healthy products they can feel good about.”

Computer generated photo

Richard told us that the company plans to add a small, trial Fruitful Yield stand offering healthy food options to arena attendees. Fruitful Yield is the Chicago area retail chain owned by NOW Health Group.

Potential trade show venue

With many online events replacing in-person shows for the rest of the year, trade shows don’t appear to be resuming in the near future.. However, they’re still on the minds of many in the industry as we look to move on post-pandemic. 

“NOW will also try to steer natural industry shows to use this arena as host to potential smaller shows,”​ said Richard.

The arena offers 22,000 square feet of space and is located about 20 miles from O’Hare International Airport. 

The future of trade shows

It’s hard to predict when in-person events will resume and what the landscape of trade shows will look like. According to the ASAE Research Foundation’s latest Association Impact Snapshot survey​, 44% percent of association executives said the earliest date they expect their organization to resume in-person events is January 2021. 

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events recently released a white paper, ‘Essential Considerations for Safely Reopening Exhibitions and Events, Version One’​ to help organizers with the planning process.

“It is important to remember that we are operating within a fluid situation and the information will be changing,” ​noted IAEE Health and Safety Task Force Chairperson Tim McGuinness, IAEE Board Director. “We will be updating this document as we learn from COVID-19, and even moving beyond this particular health crisis.”

The white paper offers support on a number of topics, from general health and safety to cleaning and legal considerations. 

IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CTA, FASAE, CAE, said in a press release, “Although we are eager to get back to our usual face-to-face business environment, safety must be the top priority, and we must look to the science and medical communities for the best ways to go about producing our shows.”

The Sears Centre will take on its new identity in early September, when the new NOW signage will be installed. With the ink on the contract barely dry, a NOW representative said details about use of the facility as a trade show venue have yet to be negotiated.

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