San Jose will remain home base for the Sharks, putting to rest rumors that the hockey club could up and move to another city.
Mayor Sam Liccardo and Sharks Sports and Entertainment COO John Tortora held a press conference Friday to talk about the long-term lease that would keep the NHL franchise at the SAP Center through 2040. The City Council will discuss terms of the agreement May 19.
Under the newly negotiated contract, the Sharks will continue to run the city-owned SAP center—the team's home (despite several name changes) since the facility first opened in 1993. Home games will take place on a fixed-term at the Shark Tank through 2025. Starting in 2026, the lease will come up for renewal on a yearly basis. The existing lease sunsets in 2018.
Leading up to the announcement, the Sharks lobbied the city to re-invest lease payments into the facility's modernization to keep up with new arenas like Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara and the under-development Warriors arena set to open on the San Francisco waterfront in 2018.
The city agreed to divvy up the cost of upgrades to the arena, including a new roof—estimated to cost at least $3 million—and ventilation system. Those improvements could start as soon as the city signs off on the lease deal. After those initial costs, the Sharks and the city will each invest $2.6 million a year into facility maintenance.
Sharks officials noted that SAP Center consistently ranks as a top-five arena in the United States and top 1o in the world in terms of non-sports tickets sold each year, according to Pollstar Magazine. That figure could tick up just a bit with the American Hockey League's San Jose Barracudas moving to town this fall.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement with the city of San Jose to keep the Sharks where they belong—in downtown San Jose,” Sharks majority owner Hasso Plattner said in a press statement. “I love this arena and this is the only place we want to call home."
Since the arena opened 22 years ago, some 35 million people have set foot through its doors.
Liccardo thanked the team for its commitment and for the multimillion-dollar boost it brings to the local economy.
“Since its opening two decades ago as the home of the San Jose Sharks, the SAP Center has consistently ranked amongst the busiest indoor sports and entertainment facilities in the country,” Liccardo said. “The Sharks are a major tenant to our downtown, generating millions in economic development for our city, and their success is paramount as we plan for the future."