On Monday, the University of Kentucky, JMI Sports and Kroger announced a partnership that expands Kroger’s commitment to UK Athletics and the university. That includes the renaming of Commonwealth Stadium to Kroger Field.
“This is an unprecedented partnership that pairs two iconic brands – UK and Kroger – whose reach extends throughout the Commonwealth and far beyond our borders,” UK President Eli Capilouto said in a press release. “Kroger shares our mission to serve Kentucky. And this partnership tangibly advances that mission, as evidenced by what it will allow us to do on our campus, but also as Kroger embarks on an ambitious effort to enhance health and wellness throughout Kentucky.”
The field will be named to C.M. Newton Ground after previously being called C.M. Newton Field in honor of the former UK athletics director in 2000.
“My family and I are thankful to President Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart and everyone at UK for including us in the decision to rename the playing field,” C.M. Newton said. “We are proud of the time we spent at UK and excited for years of Kentucky football to come on C.M. Newton Grounds at Kroger Field.”
The agreement – which is between Kroger and JMI Sports, UK’s multimedia rights partner – is effective immediately. It begins at approximately $1.85 million annually with a term of up to 12 years.
“Three years ago, we had this day in mind when we reached our new multimedia rights agreement with JMI Sports,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “We are proud to have a partner in Kroger that shares our commitment to making this state and university the best they can be. This partnership goes well beyond the naming of Kroger Field and we are excited to see the good it will do for years to come.”
The Kroger Field name will be reflected on interior, external and directional signage, as well as collateral materials related to the football stadium.
“Partnerships have driven every accomplishment we’ve made together,” said Dr. C.B. Akins, Sr., UK trustee and chair of the University Athletics Committee. “We’ve experienced unprecedented growth as an institution – an institution that exists for Kentucky. This partnership with Kroger symbolizes – and extends – that commitment. Because of today’s announcement, we will continue to upgrade the experience for our fans, extend and enhance what we can do for our student-athletes, and provide more in services for our faculty, students and staff.”
“The common goal of this partnership is for Kroger customers to benefit, Kentucky football fans to benefit, and ultimately the entire community to benefit,” said Calvin Kaufman, president of Kroger’s Louisville Division. “We look forward to showing what can be accomplished when two iconic brands like UK and Kroger, which have similar values and rich heritage, work together on health and wellness initiatives, community engagement, and enhanced experiences for our customers and fans.”
“We are privileged to represent the University of Kentucky and extremely proud to work closely with Kroger to develop a partnership that will have a profound impact for both organizations,” JMI Sports Chief Executive Officer Erik Judson said. “The mission for all parties was to develop a comprehensive relationship that extends across campus and demonstrates a collective commitment to the children and communities of the Commonwealth.”