Illini's Assembly Hall renamed State Farm Center

University of Illinois sells naming rights for Assembly Hall arena to State Farm Insurance

Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- State Farm Insurance Co. has purchased the naming rights to Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois, officials announced Monday.

In a 30-year, $60 million agreement, the home of the university's basketball teams will be known immediately as State Farm Center. The change comes as the arena undergoes a renovation that is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2016.

Athletic director Mike Thomas says the university is proud of the new relationship with State Farm. He added the insurance company, headquartered in Bloomington, is "one of the most respected corporate brands in the world."

"State Farm has been an outstanding partner for the University of Illinois for more than two decades," Thomas said. "The Assembly Hall is one of the most recognizable structures in the nation and, at 50 years of age, has served the UI campus, community and central Illinois very well."

The Assembly Hall renovation project's price tag is currently set at $160 million. Students at Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus have agreed pay a $50 annual fee to help pay for the renovations.

The university is upgrading the arena by adding luxury boxes, air conditioning and other features. The bulk of the work is expected to be paid for through private fundraising and the naming rights.

"We are proud to be a part of the renovation of this classic Illinois venue, and further expand our longstanding relationship with the University of Illinois ...," said State Farm executive vice president Randall Harbert.

State Farm Center is the second in the Big Ten with a corporate donor. In 2011, Pinnacle Bank purchased the naming rights to the University of Nebraska's arena for $11.2 million over 25 years.

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