Promoter looking to bring businesses on board for custom Ottawa Monopoly game


Owning a piece of prime Monopoly real estate is no longer just a game night goal for local businesses. An Ottawa promoter is facilitating a localized version of the popular board game and looking for capital businesses to sponsor the properties.

Scott McLaren, president of Festival Promotions and a 2018 Forty Under 40 recipient, has teamed up with real estate research firm Urban Logic to create the custom board game. The Ottawa-based promoter says it’s been in the back of his mind to make a version of the game for a client or some other purpose for a long time.

Hasbro’s promotional division allows third parties to adapt the Monopoly concept in a couple of different ways. Either an entire company can pay to create a custom version – BlackBerry did a version to celebrate its 25th anniversary a while back – or a promotional company can crowdsource a variety of sponsors to cover the licensing and production costs.

“The minimums are pretty high. So there's not a ton of clients that can blow a couple hundred grand on a custom Monopoly board for themselves,” McLaren says.

“And so we thought, if we really want to make it, why don't we just make it for Ottawa and sell it to people of Ottawa at large and have the entire business community sponsor the board?”

Each sponsor will have their name and logo on one element or another of the final game board. Restaurants such as The Grand and Zak’s Diner have already laid claim to a couple of the early squares, named for George Street and ByWard Market Square. McLaren says they’re working with each sponsor to figure out which street makes the most sense to allocate to each business.

Smaller companies that can’t afford to own a property could instead sponsor a token or one of the Community Chest or Chance cards. The traditional “win $50 in a beauty contest card” has already been snapped up by a laser clinic, while Escape Manor got its logo on the coveted “get out of jail free” cards.

The organizers have priced out the production costs to be fully covered by sponsorships. All retail proceeds will then go towards three charities: Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ottawa, Do it for Daron and the Royal Ottawa Youth Mental Health Foundation, and a third cause still to be determined. McLaren says the low-end of anticipated sales would deliver $50,000 to each charity, but he believes that number could get as high as $100,000.

While Ottawa residents will be able to order a copy of the game for their own families, McLaren sees an opportunity for bulk sales to real estate companies. An Ottawa-branded Monopoly game makes for a great supplement to the traditional move-in gift basket, he says.

At the time of writing, the game board was roughly 30 per cent sponsored. Production is expected to begin in April 2019 with orders ready for next holiday season.

Anyone interested in sponsorship can reach out to