LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Rupp Arena has a new name.
The historic venue was renamed Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center Thursday following an agreement between the Central Bank, JMI Sports and the University of Kentucky. Central Bank will pay an average of $4.1 million for the next 14 years, an agreement that will expire in 2033.
“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 big 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,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “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.”
Central Bank has been a longtime supporter of UK athletics and is looking forward to the unique partnership between the entities.
“Our founder, Garvice Kincaid, dedicated much of his time and resources to the community. He was even a founding board member for the Lexington Center. It is because of Mr. Kincaid’s good works that Central Bank is known statewide as an advocate not only for the communities where we reside, but for the entire Commonwealth,” said Luther Deaton, Central Bank chairman, president and CEO. “Today, his daughter Joan Kincaid, Central Bank owner and vice chairman, continues this legacy of generosity through initiatives that serve the entire state and improve each of the communities we serve. Central Bank is able to make these contributions possible because Ms. Kincaid doesn’t take a salary or benefits from the bank. She does this because she knows that when our communities and local businesses are successful, ultimately, our bank will share in that success.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.