The KFC Yum! Center arena will retain its current name until 2031 after a new long-term naming-rights deal was signed between the Louisville Arena Authority and fast-food corporation Yum! Brands.

Yum! Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has sponsored the 22,000-seat arena since it opened in 2010. The new deal will grant the company continued brand exposure through exterior and interior signage and digital messaging rights, as well as a double centre-court suite and premium hospitality options.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed but Louisville Business First reported that the deal is worth $16.3m (£12.3m/€13.4m).

The partnership includes updated menu options at the arena’s existing Yum! Brands concession stands, which include KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Updated arena signage will also be provided to modernise the visitor experience, while Yum! Brands will work with the Louisville Arena Authority and operator ASM Global on initiatives that further community engagement,

Leslie Geoghegan, chair of the Louisville Arena Authority, said: “The first 10 years of this partnership allowed us to bring hundreds of world-class events to Louisville, and we are thrilled this agreement allows us to continue to nurture Louisville’s rich culture of basketball, music and food for many years to come.

“We worked diligently to finalise this renewal and are pleased that a new provision focuses on community engagement, a priority for the leadership and employees of both organisations.”

Scott Catlett, chief legal and franchise officer for Yum! Brands, added: “Yum! Brands is proud to reaffirm our commitment to our hometown of Louisville by investing in one of the city’s most visible and spectacular venues.

“Louisville is known for its welcoming spirit and rich culture, and we are passionate about maintaining the city’s status as a world-renowned arts, sports and entertainment destination for visitors, our more than 800 local employees and their families and the customers we serve every day.”

KFC Yum! Center serves as the home of the University of Louisville’s basketball teams. It has also hosted a string of major music concerts since opening, with recent acts including Metallica, Phil Collins and Celine Dion.

KFC Yum! Center was one of the first US arenas to partially reopen recently when it hosted basketball’s Wade Houston Tipoff Classic. The arena implemented ASM Global’s VenueShield programme, which provides enhanced safety protocols such as disinfectant cleaning, temperature screenings, face covering requirements, physical distancing, more hand sanitiser stations, digital ticketing and more.

Image: Jwhalin