San Diego teams with Verizon

Verizon Communications will pay San Diego $1 million over the next five years for the privilege of marketing itself as the city's "official wireless partner."

The deal is an outgrowth of the city's new strategic marketing plan to generate revenue from partnerships with corporations.

"What makes this particular relationship a first of its kind is that a government agency is providing marketing value to a company," said Mary Braunwarth, director of development for the city. "If you want us to really use our resources to promote a vendor, we should be compensated."

It is also the first time under San Diego's Municipal Marketing Partnership Program that a marketing option was included in a major contract solicitation, Braunwarth said. The city council approved separate contracts for the wireless service and the marketing plan, but there is no requirement that a vendor become a marketing partner to get a city contract, she said.

To help promote Verizon, the city will place the company's logo in newsletters, brochures and on its special-events Web site. The city will also let the company co-sponsor up to four city-hosted special events per year and offer prepaid products in city stores and community service centers. Verizon will market deals to city employees through the city's intranet.

Other cities will be able to find out about Verizon at conferences and seminars when San Diego's staff give presentations on municipal marketing, Braunwarth said.

The wireless service contract is worth from $2.5 million to $3 million. It includes prepurchased bundles of wireless service time and a home-calling area that eliminates roaming charges in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Hawaii.

In addition, Verizon Wireless will train city technical staff, allow them to test and evaluate new wireless services and equipment, and lead volunteer efforts in the city.

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