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New for 2020: Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center

Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center Rendering

There has been a slight name change for Rupp Arena, as the venue becomes Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center with Central Bank’s purchase of naming rights to the Lexington Center complex. Rupp Arena is home to the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program.

The agreement is between Central Bank and JMI Sports, and UK / LCC’s multimedia rights partner. This agreement bolsters Central Bank’s existing relationship with JMI Sports and UK to an annual average investment of $4.1 million with a term of 14 years, expiring in 2033. Upon completion of the renovation, the portion of this investment associated with naming rights will be $1.5 million. The opportunity to sell naming rights with other media rights is part of LCC’s and the university’s Right of Use Agreement executed in February 2018 and transferred media rights ownership to UK.

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

A key part of the agreement is the naming rights to the Lexington Convention Center complex, which is currently undergoing a major expansion. To preserve and honor the history and tradition of the legendary basketball program led by Adolph Rupp, the arena will be known as Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center.  The Central Bank Center brand will be on interior, exterior and directional signage, as well as collateral materials related to the Convention Center and Rupp Arena. New graphics are being designed which will be fully integrated into the expansion project and other areas of the facility.

“The power of partnership enables us to pursue our goal of building an elite athletics department and empowering young people to grow as students, athletes and people,” said Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. “Central Bank, the Lexington Center and JMI Sports have all been strong and committed partners of our university for a long time and we are proud to announce this next phase of our partnership.

“It was also essential to us that we preserve the name of this incredible venue out of respect for Coach Rupp, his accomplishments and his family.  We want to preserve and enhance the unmatched tradition of the building that bears his name. We look forward to playing at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center for years to come.”

This partnership is the third naming rights agreement that JMI Sports has delivered through its partnership with the University of Kentucky.

“Our company is committed to achieving the unique objectives of each university that we represent. This agreement with Central Bank exemplifies our ability to deliver landmark partnerships that provide profound value for the University of Kentucky and our valued corporate partners,” said JMI Sports CEO Erik Judson.

Kim Shelton, President of UK Sports and Campus Marketing (JMI Sports) added, “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Central Bank to include naming rights of Lexington Center.  A key element of a naming rights partnership is the synergy between the partners and the property. We are honored to deliver a partnership between Central Bank, the University of Kentucky and the Lexington Center Corporation that truly represents the very best of the  Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

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