Today's announcement that HP Pavilion will soon be renamed SAP Center had to have some head scratching. Todd Bradley has long been HP's leading sports supporter at the Execom level -- is he losing favor? Another signal was the HP sponsorship of the Byron Nelson Classic Golf tourney, when Keegan Bradley finished second, not first, and in the final twenty minutes of TV time, HP was not mentioned once on the tube, nor given the traditional option to hand over the trophy or anything.
Keegan is Pat Bradley's nephew, and no relation to Todd of which I'm aware. But stranger things have happened. HP used to design the sailboats for the America's Cup, back when HP had the leading workstations (and before King Larry started competing). Wonder if the Thug is sailing this year?
And SAP? What now? Well, the initial news of course is that Hasso Plattner, the German founder of the German company, is part owner of the San Jose Sharks, and since the HP Pavilion is known fondly as THE SHARK TANK by all of the ice hockey fans, what a natural. Plattner, you may recall, is actually a dedicated contributor to the Bay area, having funded the D'School at Stanford for David Kelley and team, much to Stanford's chagrin for awhile, but now they're pleased because Stanford B'school kids pick Stanford over Harvard thanks to the D'School reputation.
Another way to view the HP Pavilion name change, of course, is that HP needs the $3M or so per year that it costs to keep the name on the stadium, now that things have gotten so bad for this $120 Billion per year company. Odds, though, are that HP's toilet paper bill is ten times the Shark Tank naming bill, so that doesn't ring too true.