Sports Arena reclaims name as ipayOne fades into sunset
by Sebastian Ruiz
Published - 05/10/07 - 02:34 PM | 2969 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The ipayOne Center.

The name never rolled off the tongue, and typing it is downright lame.

So, thanks to the meltdown in the subprime mortgage lending industry, the San Diego Sports Arena is once again the Sports Arena.

IpayOne, a Carlsbad-based discount real estate broker which bought the naming rights to the arena two years ago, reportedly is shutting down its home-sales operation and is no longer accepting listings.

As a result, the arena has shed the majority of the lime-green signs that have been its namesake since 2005.

The Arena Group 2000, the managing group of the San Diego Sports Arena, has replaced many of the ipayOne signs with the old arena signs, according to Ernie Hahn, general manager.

The agreement between ipayOne and the Arena Group 2000 has been "terminated based on default," according to Hahn.

Repeated attempts to reach ipayOne's chief executive Michael Jackman and company co-founder Marc Gold were unsuccessful.

"This is a chance to rebrand and refocus on a lot of things, and that's good," Hahn said. "I'm looking forward to it."

The city gets just 10 percent of any naming rights negotiated by the Arena Group 2000, Hahn said. In 2005, an independent evaluation determined the naming rights to be worth between $500,000 and $600,000, Hahn said.

The lease between the city and the Arena Group 2000 ends in 2017, he said.

Hahn said his priority right now is persuading another company to buy the naming rights to the arena. Plans are under way to make "additional modifications and updates to the facility" within the time the group has left on the contract, he said.

Hahn said the arena is currently courting several potential corporations and that he hopes to have another name within the next six months.

Once a contract is negotiated between the group and a partner, the next step would be a formal ratification by the city, he said.

This year, the Sports Arena will host an estimated 120 events, including professional basketball games, concerts and special events.

The arena was once home to the San Diego Gulls and arena football. But the arena isn't playing host to as many sporting events as it did because scheduled dates didn't "prove to be financially viable" for the arena, Hahn said.

Opened in 1966, the Sports Arena has hosted many exciting moments in sports history, including the Muhammad Ali versus Ken Norton bout that led to Ali's defeat, according to the arena's Web site. 
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