Univ. Of Alaska-Anchorage Inks Naming-Rights Deal With Alaska Airlines
The Univ. of Alaska-Anchorage on Thursday announced that the school's new on-campus sports arena “will be named the Alaska Airlines Center” in a 10-year, $6.3M agreement, according to Bob Hallinen of the ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS. The deal “takes effect July 1” and includes $1M to establish a new scholarship endowment for UAA athletes and $5.3M in sponsorship, "much of which will be used to cover travel for the school's sports teams.” The new $109M arena is set to open in August ’14 and “will seat about 5,600.” UAA's men's and women's basketball teams, along with its volleyball and gymnastics teams will compete in the arena, and "all the school's athletic programs will have some training facilities available there.” UAA AD Steve Cobb said that Alaska Airlines' commitment to help the school with travel costs is "critical because the school's athletic teams travel Outside frequently and travel costs are the athletic department's largest single expense.” Cobb: "It's absolutely huge for us. We have to spend two and half times to three times as much on travel than the rest of the world. It wouldn't be an overstatement to say it's a game-changer for us.” Alaska Airlines has sponsored UAA athletics “for more than 30 years” (ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS, 3/22). In Alaska, Laurel Andrews notes the new venue “will replace the Wells Fargo Sports Arena, built in 1978.” Alaska Airlines Regional VP Marilyn Romano said that once fully funded, the new scholarship endowment will be “used to provide $40,000 in athletic scholarships annually, funding student athletes ‘in perpetuity’” (ALASKA DISPATCH, 3/22).
REBEL FORCES: The AP’s Jeff Amy reported Ole Miss is “taking concrete steps toward building a new basketball arena.” The Mississippi College Board on Thursday “approved plans" for the school to spend $6M for architects to "design a 10,000-seat venue, a parking garage and other facilities.” The arena would “replace Tad Smith Coliseum, built in 1967.” The school said that the current arena is “outmoded and worn out.” Costs of the project remain unclear (AP, 3/21).
MIAMI MAKEOVER: ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich noted a “rebuilding effort is underway” at the Univ. of Miami in “the most literal sense.” The UM football program's $16M upgrades include a new "stink-free football locker room.” A 30,000 square-foot addition includes “a bigger, better academic center, a ‘gallery of champions’ to display national championship trophies, an expanded training facility, a new hydrotherapy pool and an overall upgrade to Miami’s old-school building.” The facilities should be “ready for use before spring practices are over, but the expanded training room and new pools will be done closer to August” (ESPN.com, 3/20).