LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The University of Kentucky announced on Monday afternoon that Commonwealth Stadium will become Kroger Field.
The announcement took place at the Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building on Rose Street.
The agreement – which is between Kroger and JMI Sports, UK’s multimedia rights partner – is effective immediately. It begins at approximately $1.85 million annually with a term of up to 12 years.
With this change, Kentucky will have the only football stadium in the SEC with corporate naming rights.
Papa John's has given at least $15 million to the University of Louisville over the years for the naming rights of that school's stadium.
UK says this partnership will extend beyond the stadium. Kroger and UK will work together for the Kroger Fields Community Program and a community 5K race – the Simple Truth 5K – which will finish at the 50-yard line at the newly renamed Kroger Field.
“We are privileged to represent the University of Kentucky and extremely proud to work closely with Kroger to develop a partnership that will have a profound impact for both organizations,” JMI Sports Chief Executive Officer Erik Judson said. “The mission for all parties was to develop a comprehensive relationship that extends across campus and demonstrates a collective commitment to the children and communities of the Commonwealth.”
Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart says the university has been working toward this moment for quite a while. When UK entered into a 15-year deal worth $210 million with JMI in 2014, JMI secured the ability to sell naming rights to the university's athletics facilities.
C.M Newton Field, which is currently named in honor of the former UK athletics director,will be renamed C.M Newton Grounds at Kroger Field.