Illini Fans Upset Over ‘State Farm Center’


On Monday afternoon, Illinois school officials announced that its 50-year-old basketball arena, Assembly Hall, will be renamed “State Farm Center” as part of a 30-year, $60 million agreement with the insurance company (whose Bloomington, IL, corporate headquarters are just an hour northwest of Urbana-Champaign).

Despite the name change, many Illini fans in the Twittersphere expressed a solemn vow not to stop calling the arena “Assembly Hall.”

We’re not nearly as outraged as these folks in light of the fact that the naming rights deal was done in order to fund a much-needed, $160 million renovation to the beloved facility — one that is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016–2017 basketball season.

“From the very early stages of this project, it was clearly apparent that naming rights for the building would play a major part in the funding model,” Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas explained in a written statement. “This agreement complements support from campus and our students while supplementing support from the community.”

Our only question: Why couldn’t it have been named “State Farm Assembly Hall”?

[The News-Gazette | The Dagger]

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