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The Northerner

The Bank of Ky. Center to change its name

Shar'Rae Davis gets ready to shoot the ball during the first half of NKU's loss to FGCU. Northern Kentucky lost to Florida Gulf Coast 46-76 on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at The Bank of Kentucky Center

Kody Kahle

Shar'Rae Davis gets ready to shoot the ball during the first half of NKU's loss to FGCU. Northern Kentucky lost to Florida Gulf Coast 46-76 on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at The Bank of Kentucky Center

Clayton Castle, Sports Editor

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Due to the recent buyout of The Bank of Kentucky by BB&T Corporation, the home arena of NKU, The Bank of Kentucky Center, will change its name to reflect the buyout as early as next fall, according to NKU President Geoffrey Mearns.

The buyout, worth $363 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, was announced in Sept. of 2014, and officially closed on Jan. 15, 2015.

Mearns said that the negotiations have not yet begun about official details regarding the name change.

“We have not begun to have conversations with the leadership of the Bank of Kentucky or the new leadership at BB&T,” Mearns said. “My understanding is that they are in the process of consummating the transaction; that is the acquisition of the BOK by BB&T.”

The only thing that is certain is that BB&T does plan on changing the name of The Bank of Kentucky Center, according to Mearns.

This is the first name change of the arena since its opening in 2008. The Bank of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky University jointly announced in 2005 that the Crestview Hills, Ky.-based bank would fund 10 percent of the building and construction of the arena, in exchange for naming rights for 20 years, as well as a luxury suite and rights to host an event once a year.

The 20 years began when the arena opened in 2008 with the first event held at The Bank of Kentucky Center, which was a concert featuring Carrie Underwood.

According to the official agreement, acquired by The Northerner from NKU Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel Sara Sidebottom, logos of the arena were to be placed everywhere from the basketball court to employee uniforms, and tickets and drinking cups, to name a few.

Once a new name is decided on, all of those logos will have to be changed to the new name, says Athletic Director Ken Bothof. As for the timeline of those physical changes to the arena, such as the exterior signage and logo of new arena, that is yet to be determined.

“The negotiations are still very early,” Bothof said.

Mearns expects that the new name of the arena will be in place by the 2015-2016 basketball season.

“I would anticipate that the name change will occur before or around the beginning of the upcoming academic year,” Mearns said. “But again, the various officials of the two institutions are still working out the details of their transaction. Once that is complete, we will have more conversations with them about the details of the name change.”

The Cincinnati area has seen similar name changes in the past, most notably its riverfront arena, home of the minor league hockey team Cincinnati Cyclones. In 2001, Firstar Corporation merged with U.S. Bancorp, causing the then Firstar Center to change its name to the current name, U.S. Bank Arena.

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The Bank of Ky. Center to change its name