Penn Athletics announced a new multi-year corporate sponsorship centered on the naming rights of the Palestra court with Macquarie Investment Management in a press conference in the Palestra on Tuesday afternoon.
After remarks from Athletic Director Dr. M. Grace Calhoun and Shawn Lytle, deputy global head of Macquarie, the company logo was unveiled on both sidelines of the court.
“We felt that taking this next step was a really strategic step in terms of not only generating the extra resources to reinvest in the programs, but also finding a partner that stands for a lot of the same things that we do,” Calhoun said.
In addition to the naming rights of the Palestra court, Macquarie will also be the presenting sponsor of both Penn men’s and women’s basketball, as well as a key sponsor in several of Penn’s community outreach programs. Macquarie will be the premier sponsor of the Young Quakers Community Athletics program, and the presenting sponsor of the National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Penn and the new student-athlete Community Champion program.
Macquarie joins IBX as a premier sponsor for YQCA. It is the only presenting sponsor for the basketball teams and the other programs.
Macquarie Investment Management falls under the umbrella organization of the Macquarie Group, a global financial group based in Australia. This branch of the company has significant ties to the city of Philadelphia, which Calhoun stressed as an important factor in the decision to pair with them.
“The local part was very important,” Calhoun said. “Having a company with a strong local footprint and presence that wants to grow a partnership locally, while also knowing that we want to be known and compete on the world stage as well was very important to both of us.”
Calhoun declined to disclose the length and value of the partnership, but emphasized that the deal is for several years and that it is the largest sponsorship that Penn Athletics has entered into.
The funds from the sponsorship will be split between the two basketball teams and the various community initiatives, especially YQCA, which involves Penn’s track and field and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.
“When you look at the sponsorship of basketball it will certainly be resources that will help with operating budgets,” Calhoun said. “Then a lot of it, though, is directed at the community initiative. … So opportunities to impact the community is where we’re really going to build out our programming and for us, it’s a commitment to holistic development and we think that’s an important part.”
Calhoun said that the decision to offer up naming rights of the Palestra’s court has been in the works for several years.
“In our partnership with JMI Sports [the exclusive multimedia rights partner of Penn Athletics],… we went through every inch of every facility that we have and agreed to all of the things that would be eligible for sponsorships and those things that wouldn’t and we had an early conversation about the Palestra court. We were clear with JMI that it would take the right partner that we felt really good about to want to give away that asset, but I think we felt immediately after the first conversation with Macquarie that they were exactly the type of partner that we wanted.”
Even as Penn looks to expand sponsorships, the Palestra itself appears safe.
“We will never name the palestra anything other than the Palestra — there are things like that that we just won’t do.”
So, when basketball returns to the Palestra on Nov. 9, the floor is going to look a little different.