SAN JOSE, Calif. – Welcome to the SAP Center at San Jose.
Representatives from SAP, a software company, and the San Jose Sharks were on hand Tuesday for the official renaming of the building the NHL team calls home.
SAP also sponsored the men’s tennis tournament in San Jose that moved out of the country following its last event in February.
Previously known as HP Pavilion, and nicknamed the Shark Tank for its main residents, SAP bought out the final two years and added three more years to its commitment, with a five-year option.
SAP representatives promised an enhanced fan experience at hockey games, though it’s not yet clear how that will work.
“We’re going to co-operate with SAP and the fans to see what the fans want,” Sharks Sports and Entertainment COO John Tortola said. “The long range plan is to enhance the fan’s enjoyment of being here for an event.”
SAP Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Jonathan Becher called the renaming “an expression of SAP’s growing presence here in Silicon Valley. We’re a force to be reckoned with.”
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed was on hand amid loud music and lighting effects, and, yes, team mascot SJ Sharkie made an appearance.
Thunder sticks—called “Bam Bams”—were plentiful and used often. Prizes were given away to some of the more than 2,000 SAP employees invited to the event.
“It means we’ve got a sponsor that is tremendously involved in the team and the community,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson said. “You have a guy who loves the sport and having a successful team is paramount.”
SAP co-founder and chairman Dr. Hasso Plattner is also the Sharks’ majority owner.
“It’s not just a renaming ceremony,” Becker said. “It’s the beginning of a journey between the community, the sport and technology. We make this place our home and what to showcase what an unbelievable experience it can be for a fan.”
In addition to the Sharks, the Arena Football League’s San Jose SaberCats play at the venue, built in 1993, which has also hosted NCAA basketball, USA gymnastics, figure skating events, WWE, UFC and concerts ranging from Taylor Swift to the Rolling Stones.