UCSD campus
Students on the promenade by RIMAC Arena on campus at UC San Diego. Photo courtesy of UCSD

UC San Diego has announced that RIMAC Arena has been named LionTree Arena after a $5 million gift to the athletic department.

LionTree, an independent investment and merchant bank with expertise in technology, media and the digital economy, was founded by UCSD alumnus Aryeh B. Bourkoff, who also serves as the firm’s CEO.

The gift is the largest ever received by the campus’ athletic department, and also will establish the LionTree Endowed Scholarship Fund to support athletes. The gift total contributes to the Campaign for UC San Diego, which concludes June 30.

Bourkoff also serves as co-chair of the Campaign for UC San Diego cabinet.

“With Aryeh and LionTree’s generosity, we are able to recruit and retain outstanding scholar-athletes, build strong teams, enrich campus life and elevate our reputation as an academic and athletic powerhouse,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

Khosla noted the timing of the donation, around UCSD’s transition to NCAA Division I competition, as did Bourkoff.

“UC San Diego has been on a remarkable journey since my days on campus, and it is an honor to invest in its continued success at this pivotal moment for the university and its athletics program,” he said.

Bourkoff added that he hopes “that LionTree Arena will be home to many memorable moments both on and off the court” at UCSD.

LionTree holds the naming rights for a period of up to seven years. A athletic and event complex that is supported with student fees, RIMAC opened in 1995. The multi-use facility was designed based on student input and hosts a range of large spectator events for up to 5,000.

Recent renovations have included a skybox that seats 125 and overlooks the court, the addition of a 50-foot video display screen and a production studio where games are filmed and broadcast live on ESPN+ and other broadcast channels.

Bourkoff, regarded as an expert in guiding growth strategies for media and technology companies, graduated from UCSD in 1995 with a degree in economics. He founded LionTree in 2012 following work in the fields of equity research and investment banking.

LionTree has advised clients in more than 250 prominent transactions, including the recent spin-off of WarnerMedia from AT&T to form Warner Bros. Discovery and the sale of MGM to Amazon.

After two decades as one of the most successful programs in NCAA Division II, UCSD’s athletics program began a new era in 2020 as a member of the Big West Conference in Division I.

The 11-team conference includes four other UC members, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC Davis and UC Riverside.

The 23-sport Triton Athletics program earned 30 team championships and nearly 150 individual national championships during its time in Divisions II and III and helped guide more than 1,300 scholar-athletes to All-America honors.