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UCHealth investing $12 million in CU Buffs athletics

Athletic department headquarters will be named the UCHealth Champions Center

Colorado's Champions Center will be renamed the UCHealth Champions Center after a naming rights partnership between CU and UCHealth.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Champions Center will be renamed the UCHealth Champions Center after a naming rights partnership between CU and UCHealth.
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Colorado’s athletics department has secured the largest naming rights deal in its history.

On Thursday, the CU board of regents authorized the athletic department to finalize an expanded partnership with UCHealth, which is investing $12 million in the department – including $9 million over 15 years to put its name on the Champions Center.

The headquarters of the CU athletic department will be renamed the UCHealth Champions Center.

UCHealth is giving CU athletics an initial gift of $3 million for the Buffs’ Sustainable Excellence Initiative (SEI) fund. The SEI supports capital projects, such as the construction of the Champions Center, which opened in 2015, as well as scholarship endowments.

In addition to the initial gift is the $9 million in naming rights to the Champions Center. That will be provided in 15 annual payments of $600,000 beginning in the 2022 fiscal year.

“It’s terrific,” CU athletic director Rick George told BuffZone.com. “We’ve had a partnership with UCHealth since 2016 and this is really a nice, natural extension of our relationship and our partnership. I think it’s going to bode well for our student-athletes, our community, our campus. The health and wellness of our student-athletes is extremely important and having a partner like UC Health in that space I think is going to be great for us moving forward.”

Prior to this agreement, CU’s largest naming rights deal was the one-time gift of $5 million from the Coors Foundation in 1990 to complete the building of the Dal Ward Center. At the time, the basketball arena was renamed the Coors Events Center. With the partnership with Coors expired, CU rebranded the basketball arena as the CU Events Center in 2018.

UCHealth is a partner of the CU School of Medicine and has been the official healthcare partner of CU athletics since 2016.

“If you think about the champions center and what we do inside the champions center, from a mental health perspective, nutrition, sports medicine, it’s a natural fit for UCHealth and us,” George aid of this new agreement. “To have a partnership for 15 years, there’s a lot of things we can do collectively. I think it’s really important for our department and for the future of some of our other venues.”

According to a press release from CU, the new agreement with UCHealth “includes opportunities for health and wellness programming and unique experiences that encourage health.”

“I am thrilled to see our bond with UCHealth strengthened,” CU chancellor Philip DiStefano said in a press release. “CU Boulder and UCHealth are both leaders in advancing the public good in Colorado, and we’re excited for the new innovations this partnership will spark in improving the health and wellness of our students, faculty, staff and all Coloradans.”

With this partnership, there could be events like a health and wellness fair for students, family activities for the Boulder community, or preventive care guidelines provided to CU Athletics fans.

“CU Athletics and UCHealth already have a proven track record of teaming up for the education and awareness of healthy living for students, players and the general public,” Manny Rodriguez, chief marketing, customer and experience officer for UCHealth said in a press release. “We look forward to engaging with fans, athletes and the community to deliver important wellness messages that encourage people to be mindful of their health and be sure to keep up with regular doctor’s visits and preventive screenings.”