Less than a day after councillors passed a motion to move forward with plans for a new downtown arena, there’s already talk about plans to sell naming rights for the new facility.

The Katz Group, which retains naming rights under the agreement, has confirmed the company will be looking to sell those rights – in a deal that could be set before construction on the arena begins.

Officials with the Oilers expect a number of corporations to line up looking to put their name on the arena.

“We’d take it out to the market, there’s lots of interest in the marketplace on naming the arena,” Oilers CEO Patrick Laforge said. “The sooner the name goes on it the better from a corporate investment point of view.

“It would be a very valuable piece of real estate for corporations to consider.”

The mayor was quick to praise the deal that was five years in the making – Mayor Stephen Mandel said the arena will create “more revenue than you can shake a stick at.”

The head of the Downtown Business Association agreed.

“Twenty thousand people, fifty games, that’s a million people on the sidewalks of downtown that are not on the sidewalks of downtown right now,” Jim Taylor said. “A million people a year, and that’s just the hockey games.”

The new, $601 million downtown arena deal – with $480 million slated for the arena alone, was passed by council with a vote of 10-3, with councillors Linda Sloan, Kerry Diotte and Don Iveson voting the revised design and negotiated framework.

The next step for the deal includes a master agreement, which will go before council in March.

If that is passed, construction for the new arena is expected to begin in the late summer or early fall of 2013 – and is expected to be finished by 2016.

With files from Laura Tupper