After the expiration of a 16-year naming agreement between the University of Alaska Anchorage and Wells Fargo, the Wells Fargo Sports Complex has been renamed the Seawolf Sports Complex. The agreement expired on June 30 after Wells Fargo declined to renew it, according to UAA’s public relations and marketing manager Kirstin Olmstead.
“As we reassess our corporate brand strategy, we are determining how we can put our marketing dollars and resources to the best use to build and enhance relationships with our diverse customers and communities,” David Kennedy, the Pacific Northwest Regional communications officer for Wells Fargo, said in an email.
Wells Fargo also contributed funds to Seawolf Athletics throughout the span of the agreement, Greg Myford, director of athletics, said.
“Wells Fargo was contributing $68,000 annually to Seawolf Athletics through the naming rights sponsorship and an advertising agreement through Seawolf Sports Properties,” Myford said in an email.
Despite the loss of Wells Fargo’s annual contributions, Seawolf Athletics hopes to increase its total funding, according to Myford.
“Now that [the university’s reduced budget] is in place and we know what we’re working with moving forward, we can turn our attention back to [continuing] to raise money for athletics and [supporting] our teams,” Myford said.
Athletics has begun talking to potential new sponsors that are community and education focused, Myford said.
“There are a few very solid companies that we’ve had conversations with and continue [to do so]. What everyone can count on is that those companies are going to be long-term partners. Our values are going to align with what UAA is looking to accomplish and what [the company is] looking to accomplish as a community business,” Myford said. “We look forward to progressing those conversations and before too long, being able to announce a partner.”
In the past, the Seawolf hockey team held home games at the Sullivan Arena. For the first time in over 30 years, the team’s home games will take place at the Seawolf Sports Complex, starting on Oct. 25.
There is a major difference in the seating capacity between the Sullivan Arena and the Seawolf Sports Complex. The Sullivan Arena has a seating capacity of 6,290 for ice hockey, while the Seawolf Sports Complex can only seat 750.
“That difference is intended to be temporary,” Myford said. “What we’ll need to do is expand the Seawolf Sports Complex.”
Myford hopes that the smaller seating capacity will enhance the atmosphere of Seawolf hockey games.
“I hope… the students get better [and] easier access to the games having them right here on campus,” Myford said. “I think it’s going to be a much better atmosphere for our players to come out and have a full arena with all of the seats very close to the ice and a loud atmosphere.”
Tickets for the 2019-2020 hockey season are already completely sold out, according to Myford. There are 80 free tickets allotted to students per game. How students obtain those tickets is also changing.
“We’ll be distributing all student tickets on the day of the game right at the Seawolf Sports Complex,” Myford said. “Any UAA student who is taking six credits or more [will just need to] provide their Wolfcard and we will hand them their ticket right there on the concourse of the [Seawolf] Sports Complex.”
In addition to home games, the Seawolf hockey team also practices at the Seawolf Sports Complex.
“It’s where they practice… get their sports medicine attention [and] where the coaches’ offices are. So the Seawolf Sports Complex is already home for them,” Myford said. “Being able to play their games there should definitely be an additional advantage.”
To get the word out about the new name of the Seawolf Sports Complex and home game location change, UAA Athletics plans to make announcements on UAA hockey’s social media pages.
“What we want to do is make sure we get [the] word out to everyone. How easy it is [to pick up tickets] and most importantly, to come out and support the team,” Myford said.
The first Seawolf hockey home games of the season against the University of Alaska Fairbanks take place on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 26 at 5 p.m. at the Seawolf Sports Complex. Student tickets are available at the complex 60 minutes before the start of each game.