Kentucky's new Kroger partnership includes first stadium name change in 44 years

The University of Kentucky has entered into a new partnership with Kroger, reportedly for 12 years and $1.85 million annually according to the Herald-Leader, and the deal includes the first name change for Commonwealth Stadium in 44 years. 

First opened in 1973, Commonwealth Stadium will now be known as Kroger Field. The name still has to be approved by the university's Board of Trustees, but given the expansive nature of this partnership, it's unlikely to get voted down. 

According to the deal, Kroger is going to become the official fuel partner, official nutrition and pharmacy and official grocery store for the university and its athletics. 

"The thing they're excited about and we're excited about too is it's not just about naming rights," spokesman Guy Ramsey said, via the Herald-Leader. "It's a company who asked for this and wants it to be long term and much more."

No word from Kentucky yet on any specific special promotions -- the "finer details" are still reportedly being "hammered out" --  but if Wildcats wins on Saturdays result in any deli deals or double-fuel points on Mondays, then everyone wins from this new deal. 

With the change, Kentucky becomes the first SEC school with corporate naming rights deal for its stadium but not the first school, not even in its own state: rival Louisville has Papa John's Cardinals Stadium and Western Kentucky has Houchens-Industries L.T. Smith Stadium. 

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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