Union Bank & Trust takes naming rights to new JMU basketball arena

US-based commercial banking company Union Bank & Trust has acquired the naming rights to a new basketball facility at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The deal will run for 10 years and is worth a total of $2.25m (€1.91m/£1.71m), which JMU said represents the largest corporate naming agreement in university history.

Plans for the new facility were first revealed in April 2015 and, with the backing of Union Bank and Trust, JMU expects to break ground on the project in spring next year. It is hoped the venue will be ready in time for the 2020-21 season.

Once complete, the Union Bank & Trust Center, which the venue will be called under the terms of the naming rights deal, will have a total capacity of 8,500 for basketball games and near to 10,000 for commencement and other events, due to additional floor seating.

Planned features include a club area, courtside seating, state-of-the-art lighting and audio-visual technology, a student club area, a restaurant, multi-purpose event space, practice gym, offices, academic areas and team meeting rooms.

Charles King, senior vice-president for administration and finance at JMU, said: “This facility is a key part of the university’s campus master plan. The partnership with Union Bank & Trust is a critical step in staying on schedule and moving forward with this project within an appropriate timeframe.”

JMU president Jonathan Alger added: “We are thrilled to partner with Union Bank & Trust as naming partner for this new facility. In addition to serving as a home for our basketball programs, the Union Bank & Trust Center will provide a much-needed home for campus events such as commencement, guest speakers and concerts.

“It will also be a destination for the entire Shenandoah Valley community with trade shows, scholastic sporting competitions and other major events.”

Union Bank & Trust brokered the deal with JMU Sports Properties, a division of the Learfield agency, which serves as the multimedia rights holder for the university’s JMU Athletics division.