Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium is now Kroger Field

2 May 2017

Kentucky has become the first SEC school to sell the naming rights to its football stadium.

The school announced Monday that Commonwealth Stadium will now be called Kroger Field after a sponsorship deal with the Kroger chain of grocery stores. Per the school, the deal is a potential 12-year agreement and has an annual cost of $1.85 million.

Kroger sponsored the team’s spring game and will also be the “official nutrition and pharmacy partner” of the athletic department.

The naming rights deal means Kentucky’s two largest FBS schools play football games in sponsored stadiums. Louisville’s football stadium is sponsored by Papa John’s. The pizza chain’s founder, John Schnatter, resigned from Louisville’s athletic association board last week. Schnatter had recently said that Louisville’s athletic department needed to be “fixed.”

The field at Commonwealth Stadium was named C.M. Newton Field in 2000 in honor of Newton, a former Kentucky athletic director. The field will still bear his name and will now be referred to as the “C.M. Newton Grounds at Kroger Field.”

We’re interested to see if Kentucky’s agreement starts a trend in the SEC. As athletic departments look for ways to increase revenue, it won’t be surprising if other schools follow suit in the future.