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Rupp Arena lands first naming-rights partner

Rupp Arena, a 20,500-seat basketball arena in the US city of Lexington, has secured its first-ever naming-rights sponsor through a deal with Central Bank.

The arena forms part of the Lexington Center complex and serves as the home of the University of Kentucky’s basketball team. The wide-ranging deal with Central Bank was announced by Lexington Center Corporation and officially rebrands the arena as Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center, with the overall complex becoming Central Bank Center.

Central Bank reached the agreement with JMI Sports, the multimedia rights partner of the University of Kentucky and Lexington Center Corporation. The agreement bolsters Central Bank’s existing relationship with JMI Sports and the university to an annual average investment of $4.1m (£3.2m/€3.7m), with a term of 14 years, expiring in 2033.

Lexington Convention Center is currently undergoing a major expansion. Once renovation work has been completed, the portion of Central Bank’s investment associated with naming rights will amount to $1.5m.

The arena is named after legendary University of Kansas basketball coach Adolph Rupp and the venue will retain its ‘Rupp’ moniker to preserve and honour the tradition of his achievements.

The new Central Bank Center brand will feature on interior, exterior and directional signage, as well as collateral materials relating to the Convention Center and Rupp Arena. Plans are also in the works to roll out exclusive benefits for Central Bank customers at the arena.

Lexington Center Corporation Board chairman Bob Elliston said: “This is a milestone agreement which represents the first naming-rights agreement in the 44-year history of this legendary facility.

“We are thrilled to align with such a strong community leader, Central Bank. Central Bank has had a longstanding, 30-plus-year relationship with Lexington Center. We are confident they will protect and advance the tradition of these fine facilities and we are excited to begin this new decade of our service to the community and the region as Central Bank Center.”

Rupp Arena opened in 1976. As well as hosting basketball games, the arena stages concerts, with Paul McCartney and Pink among the artists to perform there last year.

Image: Altackett2