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Assembly Hall (IL) Renamed State Farm Center


Billy B

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois and State Farm® are proud to announce the naming of State Farm Center, the iconic campus building long known as the Assembly Hall.

A 30-year, $60-million agreement changes the name of the building to State Farm Center as the structure undergoes a major renovation project that is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016.

"We are extremely proud to announce this relationship with State Farm, one of the most respected corporate brands in the world," Illinois Director of Athletics Mike Thomas said. "State Farm has been an outstanding partner for the University of Illinois for more than two decades, and this agreement will carry that partnership forward for at least three more. 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. This agreement will ensure State Farm Center will serve those same constituents, and even more, for many years to come."

The long-time relationship between State Farm and UI - which includes the State Farm Research and Development Center, along with the fact that the corporate headquarters are just 50 miles from campus - made for a natural partnership on this project.

"We are thrilled with this announcement," said UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise. "The University of Illinois is a world-class institution and it deserves world-class facilities. The renovated and renamed State Farm Center will provide a gathering, performance and competition space to serve our students, faculty, staff and neighbors."

"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 and the state where our company has been headquartered for more than 90 years," said Randall Harbert, Executive Vice President and Chief Agency, Sales & Marketing Officer, State Farm Insurance Companies.

The name State Farm Center will be referenced for the building immediately and be incorporated into the building at the earliest availability as the project moves forward. Some utility work on the building and surrounding grounds could begin this summer, with the first major phase of the project expected to begin in March 2014. State Farm Center is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016-17 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," Thomas said. "This agreement complements support from campus and our students while supplementing support from the community."

state-farm-center-illinois-2013.jpg

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I can finally get one of those "Naming Wrongs" shirts from No Mas.

Why not State Farm Hall if you have to do it? At least keep a little of the history.

Logo is pretty good, could have been simplified a bit more.

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Why not State Farm Hall if you have to do it? At least keep a little of the history.

Or better yet, why couldn't they have just tacked the sponsor name on? "State Farm Assembly Hall" is the best of both worlds.

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People from the Champaign-Urbana area seem absolutely pissed by the name change.

People around here get pissed when they see a kid on a skateboard. Sensible people wouldn't give a rat's ass, but my fellow Chambananas are feces-throwers with the best of them.

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Well it sucks to see Assembly Hall officially go but its not like the building itself is gone it just has a different name on paper. We are still gonna call it Assembly Hall, just sad to see that this is obviously a big ol' money grab.

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I don't get the hate for the name either. Assembly Hall is kind of a generic name and was the same as one of our biggest rival's (even if we had it first.) State Farm has their headquarters in Illinois and a research center in Champaign.

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Maybe folks in Champaign Urbana are upset because they don't want to be named after something from Bloomington-Normal. Although on the flip side I assume State Farm acquired naming rights to Assembly Hall because they've run out of things to slap their name on in those cities.

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3/4 of my extended family from the Bloomington-Normal area works or did work at State Farm. My grandmother did as well when she was younger.

That said, it looks like a logo for mustache rides.

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The Farm! What a great nickname for a school with such a strong agriculture program.

Maybe not great for trying to recruit kids from Chicago though. I like "The Barn", but it's already taken. I don't know why, but "The Farm" sounds more rural to me.

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I don't understand the outrage at this at all, myself. We're talking about a free $60 million here. At a time when they're trying hard to raise funds to renovate the building. Sponsorship was an easy call, it was just about getting it right.

And with State Farm, they did. You've got a company that is relatively local (headquartered about 50 miles away in Bloomington, IL and has offices in Champaign) and is a really, really big donor to the University. It's an extremely stable company and a long-term deal, so the name will last. And it doesn't sound silly (KFC Yum! Center, Jobing.com Arena, etc.).

While Assembly Hall has been the name of the building for a long time (and it came before Indiana's), and it's seen a lot of great basketball, the name just doesn't strike me as something worth being attached to. Had it been named after a person or in memorial to someone (like Memorial Stadium), I'd understand the attachment. But the name "Assembly Hall" just doesn't do that for me.

If I had my preference, I'd have preferred they tied the two together by using State Farm Hall, but I understand why sponsors don't jump at that idea. The whole point is to bring attention to the company name. When you compromise like that, you risk having people continuing to call it by the old name and you lose the exposure.

And I know a bunch of people will claim they're going to continue calling it by the old name anyways, but that's usually an empty threat. In my experience, people adjust. I imagine they will here as well.

The logo on the other hand, I can't write any great defense for. It's not very good. The rendering of the roof is overly complicated, and the State Farm Center logo/type is dull. Plus, the updated State Farm logo annoys me, so I don't like having to see it.

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Don't Illinois and Indiana both call their primary venues "Memorial Stadium" and "Assembly Hall"?

"State Farm Assembly Hall" seems like it would have been a fair compromise. Still, corporate naming rights for college venues not located in major cities (where perhaps they're doubling up with soulless pro teams) seems kind of icky to me, because I mean it's still a campus building. At that point, why not have the Coca-Cola Student Activity Center? "Meet you at the Coke!" ugh, FOAD

But whatever, I don't like college sports.

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Don't Illinois and Indiana both call their primary venues "Memorial Stadium" and "Assembly Hall"?

"State Farm Assembly Hall" seems like it would have been a fair compromise. Still, corporate naming rights for college venues not located in major cities (where perhaps they're doubling up with soulless pro teams) seems kind of icky to me, because I mean it's still a campus building. At that point, why not have the Coca-Cola Student Activity Center? "Meet you at the Coke!" ugh, FOAD

But whatever, I don't like college sports.

Yeah, both Illinois and Indiana shared the same name for both their venues.

And naming rights are creeping into other campus building too. I have a final next week in the Deloitte Auditorium. All the Big Four accounting firms have different rooms in that same building along with John Deere and some others.

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