UK’s new baseball stadium has an official name. Mitch Barnhart discusses.
Kentucky’s new baseball stadium has a new name.
The new stadium, located near the UK football practice fields and Kroger Field, will be known as “Kentucky Proud Park.”
The moniker was given to it by Kentucky Farm Bureau, which entered into a 15-year agreement with JMI Sports for the naming rights.
The new baseball stadium name was approved by the university’s Board of Trustees on Friday morning at nearby Kroger Field, which underwent a similar re-branding last year. Specifics of the deal were not disclosed by UK.
JMI Sports purchased UK Athletics’ multimedia rights in 2014 for $210 million over 15 years. Part of that initial deal was to grant naming rights to athletics facilities among other things.
That figure included a signing bonus of $29.4 million that helped fund capital projects like the baseball stadium.
The “Kentucky Proud” name is a nod to farmers and the official state marketing program for agricultural products made in the commonwealth.
The selling of the naming rights of athletics facilities was something UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart hinted strongly at when UK made the initial deal with JMI.
“As much of a traditionalist as I want to be and am, I also have to be a realist, and you have to think, OK, what is in the best interest of this athletic department and this university, and can it absolutely give us the best chance to keep doing — the end game for us, keep our programs moving in the direction we’ve got them going,” the UK official said then.
Barnhart was expected to address the media about the “Kentucky Proud Park” naming later on Friday.
The stadium project cost $49 million and includes an all-turf field with permanent seating for 2,500 with space on the grass berms to accommodate more than 4,000. Temporary seating can be installed to take the capacity up over 7,000 for NCAA Tournament games as well.