Football stadium renamed to Kroger Field


Mitch Barnhart during the CATSPYs on Monday, April 24, 2017 in Lexington, Ky.

Chris Leach

UK Athletics announced Monday afternoon that Commonwealth Stadium will be renamed to Kroger Field after UK Athletics and marketing partner JMI sports agreed to a 12-year deal with Kroger.

The deal will pay JMI Sports $1.85 million annually and is effective immediately, pending approval from the UK board of Trustees on Tuesday.

“It’s a change we’re excited about, and we’re eager to win a lot of games at Kroger Field,” Mitch Barnhart said.

The deal is expected to have more impacts than just changing the name of the football stadium. Barnhart also announced that the field inside Kroger Field would be renamed to CM Newton Grounds.

Kroger will also become the official nutrition, fuel and pharmacy partner with UK.

“To find a partner that is as deeply rooted in our state as Kroger is, and had an initiative that wanted to reach other areas of just putting a name on a field, that was really important for us,” Barnhart said.

The agreement marks the first name change of the football stadium in program history. Kroger Field has been named Commonwealth Stadium since the stadium first opened in 1973.

UK football has played 206 games inside what is now Kroger Field, posting a 107-95-4 record during the 44-year span.

The Cats will look to open Kroger Field with a win on Sept. 9 when the Cats host Eastern Kentucky for UK football’s home opener.