Sign, logo changes coming to State Farm Center this summer

Sign, logo changes coming to State Farm Center this summer

CHAMPAIGN — Now that University of Illinois trustees have given final approval to the Assembly Hall's new name — the State Farm Center — people should gradually start seeing changes inside and outside of the iconic building.

First up will be a new marquee at the corner of Kirby Avenue and First Street. The $10,000 sign featuring the new State Farm Center name and logo will be installed by the end of the summer, according to a campus spokeswoman.

Beginning this fall, State Farm Center staff will don shirts that feature the new logo, and any cups, plates or napkins served to fans will also feature the new logo.

The university and State Farm announced the name change in a joint press conference April 29. The announcement came in advance of the UI Board of Trustees' approval late last month of the $165 million renovation of the facility called the "Illinois Renaissance."

At The News-Gazette's request, the university provided a copy of the agreement between the UI and State Farm. Among other details, the Bloomington-based insurance company:

— Will have its name displayed on several prominent signs on the building's interior and exterior.

— Can use the facility's common areas for events.

— Will have several radio spots on basketball broadcasts.

— Will get a few free tickets to one men's and one women's basketball game each season.

The agreement calls for the company to pay the university $1.5 million for the naming rights and $500,000 for sponsorship rights every year for 30 years. State Farm's first payment to the UI is expected to occur on June 30, 2013, according to campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

In return for its donation, the company will receive exclusive sponsorship advertising. The UI agreed it would not permit advertising by any other car, fire or auto insurance company without prior approval by State Farm.

According to Kaler, university fundraisers have spoken with individuals and corporate entities about the next big naming rights opportunity at the center: the court floor. No announcement is immediate but when it does come, it's not likely to be with another financial services company.

The UI can still name the court for an individual or sell rights to a third party. However, according to the UI's agreement with State Farm, "any such party may not be in the insurance or financial services industries nor may its name or logo appear more than once on or near each end of the court, be more dominant than or positioned near the State Farm Center trademarks."

The State Farm Center trademark will be displayed on each side of the center basketball court.

As for the possibility of unlimited basketball game tickets, food and drinks for State Farm employees, you won't find that in the agreement.

The university will provide the company with eight tickets to one men's and one women's basketball game per season, according to the agreement.

"We have a great relationship with State Farm. They are very supportive of the mission of the University of Illinois and the athletic department," Kaler said.

Missy Dundov, spokeswoman for State Farm, said she expects the company will utilize the eight tickets per game per season. The company does not have plans to purchase a suite at this time, she said.

"We're looking forward to the partnership and to see what it holds for the future," Dundov said.

"For years we had a great partnership with the U of I, with scholarships and several departments and with our on-campus customer research center. We like to support educational institutions all across the country. Since the U of I is close to State Farm headquarters we feel this is a good fit for us," she said.

The agreement lists several specific locations for new signs featuring the State Farm Center logo. In addition to being displayed on the exterior marquee sign and on the court, there will be signs on the center hung video board, at the scorer's table, outside all main entrances and on each concourse level. The university also agreed to work with local, state and federal authorities on eventually replacing current references to the Assembly Hall on any street or highway signs.

The university will pay for the all the new signs. At this time, the only cost estimate for new signs is for the main exterior sign on Kirby, according to Kaler. Old signs will be replaced with new ones as the renovation project progresses, she said.

"State Farm people were gracious about not having to put something up then be torn down," Kaler said.

At the meeting last month, UI trustees also signed off on the renovation project. Some utility work on the site may begin this summer, but the bulk of the work may not occur until March 2014, with completion in November 2016.

Logos will appear on tickets, game-day programs, on the media backdrop used for press conferences and other events, on special passes, stationery and more.

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Orbiter wrote on June 08, 2013 at 9:06 am

$1.5M per year for naming rights seems like a trivial amount--only slightly more than the basketball coach's salary (which just went up 20%. Too bad other University employees couldn't even get a 3% increase but, you know, the rich deserve to get richer.)

shurstrike wrote on June 08, 2013 at 11:06 am

You're comparing apples to oranges.

First, the coaches jobs are based on performance.  If they don't perform well, they get the boot with little effort and as you probably know, quite frequently.  Try imposing that on university employees.

Second, the coaches salaries are paid by the DIA which is funded entirely by ticket sales, alumni giving, merchandising, etc.  The university employees are paid fhrough tuition and from state funding, and you know how that's going now.

Third, how much of the population is qualified to be a head coach of a Big 10 football program vs. those qualified to cut the grass on the Quad?

Your statement is akin to comparing the salaries of McDonalds employees to the salaries of Carle employees - irellevant and generally nonsensical.

Lostinspace wrote on June 08, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Given university athletic scandals across the country, I would welcome a clear statement from the university that all expenses in football and basketball, including salaries, facilities, security, tutoring, scholarships, player lodging, travel, fund-raising, etc., are covered by income generated by those programs; that none of those expenses come from general university funds diverted from academic programs and their support.

A simple declarative sentence from the president would suffice.

rtrott wrote on June 08, 2013 at 3:06 pm

The DIA budget reports are conveniently located on under Inside Athletics--> annual reports --> budget. It states very clearly, for the clearly ignorant, that the DIA receives zero state tax dollars and also gives a nice breakdown of how the DIA generates it's revenue and also breaks down how they spend it. No statement by the university president is needed.

MSJ66 wrote on June 08, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Assembly Hall, Assembly Hall, Assembly Hall. Hate the corporatization of everything and I refuse to call these venues or arenas by anything other than what they were named prior to coporate money. I won't know where State farm Center is but I could get you to the Assembly Hall.