UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion Nears Presenting Rights Deal

Pauley Pavilion
Reed Hutchinson/UCLA
– Pauley Pavilion

UCLA is close to signing a comprehensive deal with Wescom Credit Union that includes a presenting sponsorship of Pauley Pavilion, the Pacific-12 Conference school’s basketball arena.

The proposed deal, which sources said could be signed by the end of this week, is valued at $38 million over 10 years, which places it among the most lucrative for a college arena tied to a corporate name. The official name will be Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion Presented by Wescom.

The school has always committed to keeping the Pauley name intact, sources said. The arena opened in 1965, and the teams of hall of fame coach John Wooden won seven consecutive NCAA titles and 10 in 12 seasons between 1964 and 1975.

Pauley Pavilion was named for oil tycoon and UCLA graduate Edwin W. Pauley. He donated $1 million to help build the arena and served on the school’s board of regents for more than 30 years. Fifteen years ago, the basketball court was named Wooden and his wife, Nell. The arena is also home to volleyball and women’s gymnastics.

The new deal expands Wescom’s presence on campus. In 2015, the Pasadena company signed a five-year contract with UCLA to be the official financial institution of UCLA athletics and Rose Bowl Stadium, home of UCLA football. Under terms of that agreement, Wescom is presenting sponsor for select home football and men’s basketball games, plus The Den, the school’s official student group.

The new agreement extends Wescom’s activation to include a branch office, a rebranded space in the student union and ATMs on campus, sources said. In addition, the credit union will expand its financial literacy courses at UCLA to cover students and alumni.

Additional activation at Rose Bowl Stadium is part of the new deal, although it’s unclear how that piece will take shape. Three years ago, a connector road leading to the historic facility was renamed “Wescom Way,” according to a news release detailing the existing agreement.

IMG College, which holds UCLA’s multimedia rights for athletics and negotiated the previous Wescom deal, declined to comment through company spokesman Mike Scanlan.

Wescom, founded in 1934, has 200,000 members and more than $3 billion in assets.

For UCLA, the deal closes the loop in finding a partner to at least partly rebrand Pauley Pavilion. Eight years ago, the 13,800-seat arena underwent a $136 million renovation. In 2012, the school hired Entertainment Management Group to help sell naming rights for the arena, but a deal was never signed.

Wescom’s deal is a great one for UCLA, said Chris Allphin, a naming-rights consultant with Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment based in Southern California. Pauley Pavilion is a venue busy with activities beyond sports and sits in the middle of campus, providing the perfect platform for the credit union to reach most students, Allphin said.

UCLA’s strong tradition in college basketball boosts the overall value for the school, which will escalate as the Bruins improve on the court, he said.

“If they did it right [with arena branding], the Wescom logo will be pulled up on game broadcasts, providing it with a national footprint,” Allphin said.

Wescom’s deal for Pauley Pavilion follows the agreement rival school USC signed with United Airlines to rebrand the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 2019. The terms of that deal are $69 million over 16 years, representing the largest naming rights deal in the college space.