LEXINGTON, Ky. — The first changes to Kentucky’s newly named Kroger Field began to take shape Monday as signage installation is underway.
Blue letters spell out “Kroger” on the north side of what was formerly called Commonwealth Stadium. More signage is sure to follow.
New signage is also expected on the west side of the stadium where white, block letters used to spell out Commonwealth Stadium. The backdrop of the sign is now painted blue.
It used to be white. The Commonwealth Stadium letters were taken down in mid-July.
Something's missing. pic.twitter.com/FQ7yJkobKj
— Joe Mussatto (@joe_mussatto) June 17, 2017
It was announced on May 1 that Commonwealth Stadium would become Kroger Field. The naming rights agreement lasts up to 12 years and begins at $1.85 million annually. The agreement is between JMI sports and Kroger in partnership with Kentucky.
Kentucky is the first SEC school to sell naming rights for its football stadium. The name change has been met with skepticism by some fans, but Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said this on the day of the name change announcement.
“I love our fans and want to make sure that we’re always listening, but at the end of the day, I’ve still got to put the enterprise of making sure that our young people have the best opportunity to compete in the SEC,” Barnhart said. “If I said to our fans, ‘What’s most important: How we get there in terms of the names and things like that, or do you want us to compete well and have really quality student-athletes?’ I think they would all say something, ‘Let’s go do the best for our student-athletes.’”
Kentucky’s first game in Kroger Field will be September 9 against Eastern Kentucky. The Wildcats open the season September 2 at Southern Miss.