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.”
@hicksssss_8 State Farm arena or something it’s a damn shame still gonna call it assembly hall
— Deezy Dee (@TheRealDeezyDee) April 30, 2013
I haven’t seen enough tweets complaining, so I should. No more Assembly Hall? I refuse to call it the State Farm Arena. Refuse. #refuse
— Alex Parker (@apark1012) April 29, 2013
— Vlasta Hakes (@vlasta80) April 29, 2013
I hate that NCAA sports r being “bought out”. Assembly Hall is now State Farm Arena. Awful. Im glad Purdues still Mackey Arena. Has meaning
— Matt Burkhart (@Purduebball55) April 29, 2013
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”?