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Arena naming rights up for bid
Hewlett Packard to end naming deal for HP Pavilion
4/1/13 - By Mike Lee -

The Hewlett Packard Company has notified the City of San Jose that they do not intend to renew the naming rights deal that is currently in place with the city for HP Pavilion at San Jose. HP Chairwoman Meg Whitman is actively pushing to terminate the deal even before it is set to expire in 2015. Whitman is looking to buy-out the remaining two-years in order to save on some of the fees that HP is on the hook for.

In a move to ensure that a naming deal is in place after HP either terminates the existing deal early or allows it to expire in 2015, the City has been actively negotiating with prospective marketing partners. City officials close to negotiations have indicated that there are no less than five prospective companies lined up to replace HP.

At the top of the list is Van Camp Fish Company, whose Chicken of the Sea Tuna is the top selling canned tuna brand in the United States. Sharks Sports & Entertainment, the corporate arm of the Sharks, which also has operational responsibility of running the arena is reported to be in opposition with the deal.

SP&E has reservations with the Sharks playing in an arena which could be branded as the "Chicken of the Sea Arena", as it would soften the ferocity of the hockey brand they have built over the last 22 years. As the team battles to win its first Stanley Cup Championship, the Van Camp brand is considered by the Sharks to be the antithesis of what the Sharks brand represents.

Another option open to City negotiators is a potential deal with Apple Computer, who is looking to counter some of the gains that the Samsung Corporation has made in the mobile phone industry, by pumping more marketing dollars into its brand promotion.

Apple is believed to be ready to enter into a two decade deal, which would re-name HP Pavilion as the Apple Core Arena. Reports have indicated that as part of the deal, Apple would power stronger wi-fi for Apple devices inside the Arena, and block transmission to all Samsung and Android devices.

A third suitor, albeit a longshot, is believed to be the Church of Scientology, who wants to step up marketing to potential church recruits. The City is struggling with a demand by the Scientologists to have "meditation / teleportation pods" installed on the concourse.

The church had originally requested that all alcohol sales be eliminated from the food service operation in the building, but SP&E leveraged a food & beverage agreement currently in place as part of their building operations contract with the City.

The City is still lobbying with HP to keep their existing contract in place, which would give them more time to hash out a more lucrative deal with one of the three companies currently in negotiations.


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