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SDSU’s Cox Arena to be renamed Viejas Arena after naming-rights deal

San Diego State is receiving some criticism after selling naming rights to an American Indian tribe running offcampus casinos.
The on-campus sports and entertainment venue at San Diego State University will be renamed Viejas Arena, under a new agreement between the university and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

"We’re very pleased that the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, who are such an important member of the San Diego community, has decided to partner with us," said SDSU President Stephen L. Weber. "SDSU’s arena is one of the top sports and entertainment venues in San Diego County. We believe Viejas will help add to the arena’s success into the future."

The naming-rights agreement will officially go into effect July 1, 2009 and will pay SDSU approximately $6 million over 10 years. The agreement was brokered by Premier Partnerships with local support by ISM. Cox Communications paid SDSU more than $5 million over the 12-year life of the previous agreement, which will expire June 30, 2009.

The sale is causing some protests in the San Diego State University community. The Viejas name is primarily associated with a casino in the area, and with young men aged 18-24 most at risk for gambling abuses, the concern is that a constant on-campus exposure to the brand will lead many students to financial risk. However, the NCAA has signed off on the deal, and the casino does not feature a sports book.