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.