KY has broken through and will be naming Commonwealth Stadium for Kroger. Kinda makes sense because Kroger HQ is very near to Lexington. Money is not as big as I thought but the revenue KY gets is because of their selling rights to JMI who then used that agreement to find naming rights money. Could we get more than 1.85 mil that Kroger is paying? KY did get a 210 mil bump to the budget from what all JMI bought the rights to control for UK athletics. Financial playing field in the SEC is for big boys only:
My guess is naming rights would be worth around $2 million to $2.5 million per year, with a minimum 10-year agreement at Arkansas; probably a five-year guarantee and a series of one-year renewals, based on market trends. I have little doubt that IMG would help negotiate the terms of something like that, similar to how JMI did at Kentucky. That means that the interested corporations may have more to do with IMG affiliations than regional ties.
The real question is whether Arkansas wants to sell corporate naming rights to stadiums. That is something I have not sensed in the past, but of course college athletics are becoming bigger business by the day. And there is the matter of appeasing those who have already paid for naming rights, such as the Reynolds family foundation.
IIRC, one of the conditions for us receiving about $20M from the Reynolds Foundation to remodel the stadium in 2001 was that we’d name it after its founder (& longtime Razorback support) Donald W. Reynolds. If that’s true, I’d say we’ve already sold the naming rights.
I also recall some talk about naming the stadium back in the late 90’s, when that expansion was first proposed. There was talk of “Walmart Stadium.” It was roundly criticized although there would have been no such opposition to naming it Sam Walton Stadium or Sam Walton Razorback Stadium. So the consensus at the time was not to sell out to corporate names. I know its become more common since then, but I still don’t like the idea. I don’t mind naming things after big donors, but I just hate the idea of a beloved state institution like the UA or the Razorbacks to sell itself to corporate bidders. Let them buy skyboxes & things like that.
I feel the same way about bowl games, but tradition gave way to dollars a couple of decades ago.
Exactly. We have the Reynolds name on the stadium and the Walton name on the arena.
I don’t worry about bowl game names, and here’s why: All of the classic bowl games were named by Chamber of Commerce types for something local. The Tournament of Roses in Pasadena. Orange production in Florida. Sugar production in Louisiana. Cotton production in Texas. Peach production in Georgia. Those names are just as commercial as the Chik-Fil-A Bowl, it’s just not one corporation’s name.
Oh I know the bowls’ names were to promote the locale in some form or another, but they didn’t have the crass commercialization aspect they do now. The Rose Bowl came about as an add-on to the Tournament of Roses Parade. It was a local identifying event & promoted Pasadena, but not in the more coarse way things like the Cotton Bowl became the “Mobile Cotton Bowl” and the “AT&T Cotton Bowl” etc. The Gator Bowl & Liberty Bowl basically identified the area from which they came–Gators being ubiquitous in Florida & “Liberty” being so closely associated with Philadelphia, where the bowl began. Now, of course, so many bowls don’t even pretend to represent something local. Their names change with whoever the latest sponsor is. Like many things, it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but to me it just diminishes tradition.
I can weigh in on this from a personal perspective. My wife and I have endowed a department head chair at the U of A. If we were supplanted by a corporate name, I can assure you our estate would not look favorably on future donations, which we contemplate. It’s a very, very slippery slope to move a name out. I would not recommend it as a prudent course of action.
Yes, this is not a discussion. They have already named the stadiums. Bud Walton Arena. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and Frank Broyles Field. Baum Stadium at George Cole Field. They have not named the basketball court and I’m not sure they ever will.