San Diego Arena Renamed

The San Diego Sports Arena will be renamed ipayOne Center at the Sports Arena following a March 14th deal approved by San Diego’s City Council.

“The deal is now done but we hope to have most of the signage up when U2 comes March 28th,” venue GM Ernie Hahn told Pollstar.

The Carlsbad, Calif.-based ipayOne Inc., a real estate company, will pay the venue’s operator, Arena Group 2000, $2.5 million for the first five years of the naming rights deal, according to Hahn. During that time, the city of San Diego will receive $250,000.

In the subsequent years, ipayOne will pay the venue $500,000 annually. The city will receive 10 percent of whatever the venue gets, he added.

Arena Group 2000 has a lease with the city to operate the arena through 2017. The naming agreement will extend until then.

Why did the San Diego City Council have to approve the deal?

“The sports arena was a privately financed building back in 1966 when it was built with revenue bonds,” Hahn said. “But it’s all on city land. It’s a 50-year lease.”

In 2002, the city came to the conclusion that San Diego has the right to not only approve a naming rights deal, but to receive revenue from it as well, he added.

“We literally almost got into litigation with the city even though we didn’t have a deal done yet,” he said. “It was frustrating for a time.”

Two San Diego residents recently told the council the city should get more than 10 percent, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Councilman Michael Zucchet reportedly agreed, but said Arena Group 2000 would sue and likely defeat the city in court.

The council voted 6-2 to approve the deal.