Lexington Center, Rupp Arena enters new naming rights deal


Kentucky cheerleaders entertain the crowd during a timeout during the game against Georgia on Sunday, December 31, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 66 to 61. Photo by Olivia Beach | Staff

Rick Childress

Rupp Arena—the home of UK’s men’s basketball team—will have a slight name change. 

The facility, which is currently undergoing a major, nearly $275 million renovation, will now be known as Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center, multiple private and public officials announced at a press conference Thursday in the Rupp Arena lobby. 

The Lexington Center, the convention center which envelopes Rupp Arena, will be renamed the Central Bank Center. 

According to a press release, Central Bank will pay $19.6 million over the next 14 years for the naming rights.

From the beginning of the naming rights discussion there was a thought of taking former UK basketball coach Adolph Rupp’s name off of the arena, said Luther Deaton, the chairman and CEO of Lexington-based Central Bank.

“Everybody knows who Coach Rupp was, and when we talk about naming rights, the first question I asked was ‘I will not be a part of taking the Rupp name off of Rupp Arena,'” Deaton said.

Central Bank Center signage and branding will be on the exterior, interior and directional signage associated with the arena, the press release stated. 

UK Athletics and JMI Sports, a collegiate sports marketing firm that works with the university are also partners in the naming rights deal, the press release stated.    

“It was also essential to us that we preserve the name of this incredible venue out of respect for Coach Rupp,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK’s Athletics Director. “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.”