San Jose Sharks still playing at SAP Center
SAP Center inks a five-year extension with the city to keep its name at the downtown arena, home to the San Jose Sharks. Photo by Alexandria Bordas.

    Sharks Sports & Entertainment and German software company SAP inked a five-year extension to their ongoing partnership, preserving the naming rights to the SAP Center where the hockey team plays their home games.

    The parent company of the San Jose Sharks will keep SAP’s name across the front of the city-owned arena through 2028. With the deal becoming official this week, leaders are hopeful the business partnership will continue to flourish.

    “With the extension of our partnership, we look forward to even more collaboration, focused on pioneering the future of sports and entertainment and improving the lives of those in our community,” Jonathan Becher, president of Sharks Sports & Entertainment, said in a statement.

    Sharks Sports & Entertainment leases SAP Center, also known as The Shark Tank, from the city. The organization handles its operation and management, including hosting other events there.

    The current lease was signed in 2015, which included a provision to keep the team playing in the arena through 2025, with annual renewal options through 2040. Hasso Plattner, owner of Sharks Sports & Entertainment, is also a co-founder of SAP and current chairman of the company’s supervisory board.

    Advocates for downtown business expansion and local officials applauded the extension deal with SAP, saying it’s good news for the city as a whole, and that it will continue to offer even more stability to longtime fans of the Sharks.

    Alex Stettinski, CEO of the San Jose Downtown Association, told San José Spotlight that having the Sharks in downtown is vital for fueling growth in the area, especially now as Google is reassessing the timeline for its massive office and housing development project.

    “When there are games, you can see masses of people walking into downtown, going into restaurants before the game and activating downtown in a really substantial manner,” Stettinski said. “It makes a big difference.”

    District 6 Councilmember Dev Davis, who represents the area where the arena is located, acknowledged prior reservations by the Sharks organization about the planned Google Downtown West project. The team’s concerns centered on parking and ensuring fan access to the arena, which was resolved in a three-way settlement nearly two years ago between the team, the city and Google.

    She said moving forward it’s nice not having to worry about a name change, and she’s happy to see the partnership extended.

    “At least from all the discussions I’ve had with the Sharks executives, they love San Jose. I know that change is difficult for everybody, and so there was a lot to discuss when Google first had their grand vision,” Davis told San José Spotlight. “So we’re happy to continue our partnership with the Sharks as the city, and that they are continuing their partnership with SAP is just a cherry on top.”

    While Davis said on hockey nights “you see tons of teal everywhere,” she noted that both locals and visitors from outside of San Jose flock to the SAP Center to attend other events as well, such as March Madness college basketball games, gymnastics and figure skating competitions. This, in turn, boosts tourism revenue as people book hotels, dine out and shop in the city.

    The deal with SAP increases the amount of money the company and team donate annually to local charitable causes through the Sharks foundation, from $375,000 to nearly $500,000, according to the statement from the Sharks.

    In the decade since SAP and the Sharks agreed to naming rights for the arena, the organizations said they have collectively donated about $3.75 million to nonprofit programs and projects for youth and families.

    Contact Joseph Geha at [email protected] or @josephgeha16 on Twitter.

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