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Kentucky Becomes First SEC School to Sell Naming Rights to Football Stadium

Photo courtesy of Kentucky Athletics
Photo courtesy of Kentucky Athletics

The Southeastern Conference provides millions of dollars to its member institutions every year, but schools are still trying to find a way to increase revenue. The latest example of this is a first in the SEC.

The Kentucky Wildcats announced Monday that it had sold the naming rights to Commonwealth Stadium as one piece of a comprehensive partnership with the grocery chain Kroger. As a result, fans will now be attending football games at Kroger Field in Lexington.

According to the school’s press release, the agreement was reached between Kroger and Kentucky’s multimedia rights partner JMI Sports and begins at $1.85 million each year.

That makes the Wildcats the first program in the SEC to sell the naming rights to their stadium. They also might be one of the few that can actually pull it of because there is often tradition or history associated with the name. Could you imagine Alabama renaming Bryant-Denny Stadium or Auburn taking Jordan-Hare off the signage?

But everyone is looking for a way to drive more revenue as college athletics continue becoming more and more competitive in all facets. That’s even true in the Southeastern Conference, where nearly $40 million was distributed to all 14 member institutions for the 2016 fiscal year.

It’ll be interesting to watch this naming rights trend to see if it becomes popular among the major programs in college sports. Would you ever be in favor of Alabama selling stadium naming rights?

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