Bank of Hawaii to pay $5 million for naming rights of Stan Sheriff Center

The Bank of Hawaii today announced a naming rights deal that will put its SimpliFi brand on the University of Hawaii’s on-campus arena.

The 10,300-seat facility will become the SimpliFi Arena by Bank of Hawaii at Stan Sheriff Center.

In return, officials said UH gets $5 million spread over a 10-year period and what is described as $100,000 for a scholarship endowment in memory of Stan Sheriff, the late athletic director whose name has been on the building for 22 years.

SimpliFi Mortgage is BOH’s online mortgage application platform.

The Sheriff family has given its blessing to the change.

“It is great deal to support UH athletics, so I think it is definitely something my dad would have been happy with,” his son Rich Sheriff said.

It is the largest naming rights agreement UH athletics has received since the Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation gave the school $5 million to help renovate and expand the former Cooke Field in 2008. That gift was augmented with state funds.

The latest deal comes at a time when, due to the impact of the pandemic, UH has said its annual athletic department deficit will expand from nearly $3 million in fiscal year 2020 to about $9 million in the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

Peter Ho, Bank of Hawaii CEO, said the agreement with UH “was really the convergence of a couple of things. SimpliFi is our online brand and we have had a need to socialize the term in the community and I thought the Stan Sheriff (Center) would make a good venue for that. So, we were kind of going down that path when COVID-19 hit and we just thought it was a time to accelerate (the giving to UH).”

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The Hawaii-born Sheriff, whose vision and drive led to build an on-campus arena to replace antiquated Klum Gym, was UH’s athletic director from 1983 until his death Jan. 16, 1993.

Ho said, “I remember (Sheriff) as a big thinker and innovator.”

When the state’s largest indoor sports venue opened in 1994, it was initially known as the Special Events Arena because some members of the Board of Regents resisted putting a person’s name in the title.

But in 1998, with a change in the board’s membership, it was decided to rename the facility the Stan Sheriff Center in his memory.

In its existence, the Sheriff Center has been home for UH’s men’s and women’s volleyball and basketball teams as well as the site of state high school championships and hosted the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, U. S. Olympic teams and beauty pageants.