HP Wants Out Of Naming-Rights Deal For Sharks' Arena; SAP Could Take Over
Hewlett-Packard is “in advanced negotiations to prematurely end its naming rights deal" for the Sharks' home arena HP Pavilion, according to Arik Hesseldahl of ALL THINGS DIGITAL. HP CEO Meg Whitman said of the 15-year, $47M deal scheduled to end in ‘16, “Frankly, I’d like to get out of it.” Hesseldahl reported the change “could be announced as early as this summer.” The move is “part of a global reevaluation by HP of its marketing efforts and sponsorships." Software company SAP, with whom Sharks majority Owner Hasso Plattner works as Founder & Chair, reportedly is “interested in taking over the naming rights.” Sources said that Plattner “raised the issue of HP’s naming rights with Whitman directly during a routine meeting.” HP is a “significant SAP customer.” A change in the venue’s naming rights “would have to be approved" by the San Jose City Council (ALLTHINGSD.com, 3/26). In San Jose, Nakaso & Woolfolk report San Jose officials were “caught off guard” by HP wanting to end the naming-rights deal. But the officials said that they would have “little trouble finding a new corporate sponsor and name.” Leland Wilcox, assistant to City Manager Debra Figone, was “unaware of any talks about an early end to HP’s agreement.” But a source said that a new agreement is “under discussion for renaming HP Pavilion.” HP currently pays $3.25M per year for naming rights, with payments “split between” San Jose, which owns the building, and the Sharks (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/27).