- Naming rights could be worth as much as $5 million a year
- The university has the right to reject any corporate sponsor
Pauley Pavilion, the 50-year-old home to UCLA’s record-setting basketball program, may get a new, longer name.
As part of a 10-year, $144 million extension of the multimedia rights partnership between the university and WME/IMG, the sports talent agency will look for what’s called an affiliated naming-rights partner for the arena, according to people with direct knowledge of the deal. That means Pauley Pavilion will still be part of the facility’s official name. (Think: Big Company Arena at Pauley Pavilion.)
John Brody, who negotiated MetLife Inc.’s contract to put its name on the stadium that houses football’s New York Giants and Jets, said the naming rights to Pauley Pavilion, which he called “the crown jewel of college basketball,” could be worth as much as $5 million a year. That price would make it the richest naming rights deal in college sports, trumping the 10-year, $41 million agreement signed in September by the University of Washington and Alaska Airlines.
“It’s even more than just a men’s college basketball naming rights deal,” Brody said, adding that potential partners would have ties to the No. 2 U.S. media market. Among the potential partners, according to Brody, is Farmers Insurance Group, which attached itself to a $1.2 billion NFL Los Angeles stadium project that has since been declared dead.
Besides men’s and women’s basketball, Pauley Pavilion also houses UCLA’s men’s and women’s volleyball teams and women’s gymnastics, all of which are shown on the Pac-12 Network.
UCLA has the right to reject any corporate sponsor, from a naming-rights seeker to any company wanting an advertisement on the school’s website.
IMG paid about $5 million annually for the previous contract, which had two years remaining, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because specifics of the agreement aren’t public. The agency paid more to re-up because it’s getting more inventory, including in-venue signs, digital assets, and the right to sell the naming rights to Pauley Pavilion, where hall-of-fame coach John Wooden oversaw a program that produced 10 championships and a record 88-game winning streak from 1971-74.