Kaiser Permanente to sponsor Warriors’ Santa Cruz arena

Warriors ownership moves quickly, you have to give them that.

As reported by the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the team now has a naming rights sponsor for its Santa Cruz D-League home, along with a logo for the Santa Cruz Warriors. I figured they’d use a surf theme. Instead they kept it quite close to the corporate identity, right down to the use of the Copperplate font.

Perhaps Brick Tamland should be the Santa Cruz Warriors' mascot

Oops, here’s the proper logo:

Now there's a trident.

The curious thing about Kaiser’s move is that the company has no facilities, no hospitals, no presence in Santa Cruz County. Competitors like Sutter and CHW do, and there’s little stopping Kaiser from expanding surfside – yet they haven’t. If anything, the move allows Kaiser a chance to have its name mentioned frequently without paying the freight for a major venue naming rights deal. I had argued in the past that Kaiser, which has sponsored the Warriors for years as well as the LA Angels, would have a hard time justifying a multimillion, decades-long naming rights deal as a nonprofit. A deal of this scale, which may well be part of Kaiser’s recent presenting sponsorship deal, is a lot easier to swallow.

The Warriors and the City of Santa Cruz have only a few months to get the tent arena built in time for the upcoming NBA/D-League season, which is guaranteed to include an exhibition game played by the big Warriors. When groundbreaking occurs, I’ll be sure to head over there for the ceremony and every so often to check on the arena’s progress.

P.S. – I noticed something interesting in the D-League’s scheduling. To presumably keep travel costs low, a road team will often play a two-game weekend series at an opponent, a scheduling model not practiced by either the NBA or NHL. It’s not particularly consequential for fans, but it makes sense for the league.

16 Responses to Kaiser Permanente to sponsor Warriors’ Santa Cruz arena

  1. pjk says:

    So do the Santa Cruz Warriors exist primarily as a defense by the Warriors to keep another NBA team from moving to San Jose?

  2. Anon says:

    @ pjk – you know that the SC Warriors are run by Jim Weyerman who was recently (drum roll) the SJ Gnats CEO! Connecting the dots……

  3. LoneStranger says:

    Maybe it’s to create additional compensation, should a team eventually move there. You know, the SF Giants/SJ Giants idea.

  4. pjk says:

    Warriors could argue that there can’t be an NBA team in San Jose because that’s right smack in the middle of their “territory” – right between where the Warriors’ parent and minor league affiliate franchises play. Yes, San Jose would be right between Santa Cruz and Frisco (or Oakland, for the time being). I’ll bet the Warriors really would have liked to stick that minor league team in downtown San Jose – at the Civic Center or San Jose State’s auditorium.

  5. Marine Layer says:

    @pjk/LS – The move is great for building the brand and taking advantage of the market’s size. It’s not going to stop the NBA from moving a team to SJ if the league sees fit. That said, the NBA has no interest in making such a move at this time.

  6. pjk says:

    Looks like these D-league teams will come in from all over the country. Hope they enjoy the 40-mile drive up the mountain from SJ Airport (or even longer if they fly into SFO). “:We’re here at SFO! How far is Santa Cruz from here?” “Just another 80 miles to go, guys.”

  7. Marine Layer says:

    @pjk – It’s the minor leagues. There are teams in incredible garden spots like Bakersfield, and McAllen, TX. They’re lucky if they get decent commercial flights.

  8. Dan says:

    pjk, they were originally looking at San Jose according to reports. But they couldn’t come to an arrangement for the Civic Center (which was also a tad old and small for their tastes). And HP Pavilion is FAR too big for a D-League team. Santa Cruz only developed later after SJ failed. Just wish the Warriors had forgone the brand building and created an actual identity for the minor league team rather than glomming them on to the parent club.

  9. Nam Turk says:

    Yeah, it’s really the antithesis of Banana Slugs in that regard.

  10. Marine Layer says:

    @Nam Turk – FWIW UCSC’s men’s tennis team has won 7 D-III national championships.

  11. Dan says:

    Bout freaking time someone put the Maloofs in their place.

  12. Dan says:

    Speaking of minor league teams, does anyone know if Oracle Arena can still host hockey in any form? I’m just curious given that the San Francisco Bulls were set to move into the Cow Palace this fall as a new franchise in the ECHL, but I wonder if their plans long term may change when they realize what a shitty location it is, and that they’re going to have closer competition from a winter pro team when the Warriors cross the bay.

  13. Brian says:

    / / / Not since the ’97 rebuild. The basketball floor is 94 feet long (probably about 110 counting the out-of-bounds areas) and hockey is 200 feet. So that’s 45 feet of seats [about 16 rows] that you’d need to eliminate at each end, and since the seats were not built to see the ground level in those locations, you wouldn’t be able to see the 45 feet of ice closest to you if you sit on the ends, which includes the goal closest to you.
    .
    If you laid the rink down symmetrically, the seats on either end wouldn’t be able to see the goal in front of them. If you laid it out so that the rink was pushed into the seating section on one side only (a la the US Airways Arena in Phoenix when the Coyotes played there), the end seats at one end wouldn’t be able to see the goal. Now, they could probably just not sell that end and be OK with the crowds that the Bulls are going to draw, but that’s a lot of expense for the limited profits that a minor league team has even the potential to make.

  14. SierraSpartan says:

    Too bad the Dubs couldn’t come to an arrangement for the Aud in San Jose – it was a terrific place to watch a basketball game back in the day.

    I wonder if there were any conversations with either SJSU (Event Center) or SCU (Leavey Center) about doing the D-League thing. San Jose did have a CBA team in the EC for one or two years, but of course it was a rousing failure.

  15. Dan says:

    Sierra, they probably avoided SCU both because they’ve already got a very full schedule at the Leavey Center anyway and because I’m not sure how keen SCU is to turn another one of their venues into a pro venue (it took some arm twisting to get them to host the Earthquakes at Buck Shaw who have now long outstayed their original welcome). But it doesn’t sound like they even considered the SJSU Event Center or Leavey Center. Just the Civic Auditorium. Guess they wanted to be in the heart of downtown or nowhere.
    .
    Brian, you’re right, I was just wondering more theoretically than actually. Oracle is far too big for the Bulls and still retains much of the same problem it has for the Warriors (or that the Cow Palace has for that matter), not being near anything. Frankly the only arenas that are close to downtowns/entertainment that would work for them in the Bay Area long term are possibly the Warriors new arena or HP Pavilion (the latter of course not being available for obvious other reasons (Sharks)). Makes me wonder how long they’ll be a “Bay Area” team before moving out to a more traditional minor league hockey market that is available like San Diego.

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