JPMorgan Chase takes naming rights to new home of NBA champions

US financial services giant JPMorgan Chase has agreed a deal for the naming rights to the future home arena of the Golden State Warriors, reigning champions of the NBA basketball league.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, with a joint press conference set to be held today (Thursday) in San Francisco, but the 18,000-seat arena is set to be called the Chase Center.

“To do this now was incredibly important to financing the project, an absolute cornerstone,” Warriors president Rick Welts told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. “It won’t be the last deal we announce, but it will be the biggest and most important deal we’ll announce. It sets the right tone for the other discussions.”

The naming-rights agreement comes as the Mission Bay Alliance, a group of donors to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), moves forward with two lawsuits against the arena project. The Warriors said this month that the lawsuits would delay the opening of the facility for a year, from 2018 to 2019. The Alliance claims the arena will have a negative impact on the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, which opened in November 2014.

However, Welts claims the JPMorgan Chase deal shows the “inevitability” of the project. “We are just one lawsuit away from being able to put a shovel in the ground,” he added.

JPMorgan Chase chief marketing officer Kristin Lemkau called the Warriors the “hottest team and one of the hottest brands in sports.” She added: “Our strategy is to have big arena assets that can work for both sports and entertainment in key markets. If ever there were a city and a team we would aspire to, it would be San Francisco and the Warriors.”