HARRISONBURG, Va. – James Madison University (JMU) and Union Bank & Trust announced a sponsorship agreement that will establish the university’s previously planned new basketball facility as the Union Bank & Trust Center. The announcement occurred as part of a public unveiling event on Friday afternoon in the Bridgeforth Stadium Club.
The partnership represents the largest corporate naming agreement in university history and was orchestrated by Learfield’s JMU Sports Properties, the multimedia rights holder for JMU Athletics. As part of the agreement, Union Bank & Trust will retain naming rights for the facility for 10 years for $2.25 million.
“This is a great day for JMU Athletics,” Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said. “This facility will be a game changer for our basketball programs, and we are excited to partner with Union Bank & Trust as a significant step in moving forward with this project. We sit in the midst of an incredibly successful period in the history of JMU Athletics, and this facility and the Union Bank & Trust partnership will ensure that our basketball programs are part of that success.”
Union Bank and Trust has been a regular partner with JMU Athletics for over 20 years leading up to the new naming opportunity. CEO John Asbury said, “Today marks a new chapter in JMU’s rich history and Union is excited to be a part of it. Supporting JMU through the Union Bank & Trust Center will help the university continue its mission while bringing a state-of-the-art facility to the region [Shenandoah Valley]. Our partnership with the university, the Alumni Association and the athletics department shows our on-going commitment, as Virginia’s bank, to the region and the Commonwealth.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Union Bank & Trust as naming partner for this new facility,” JMU President Jonathan Alger said. “In addition to serving as a home for our basketball programs, the Union Bank & Trust Center will provide a much-needed home for campus events such as commencement, guest speakers and concerts. It will also be a destination for the entire Shenandoah Valley community with trade shows, scholastic sporting competitions and other major events.”
Original facility concepts and the initial fundraising launch were announced in April of 2015. Groundbreaking for the Union Bank & Trust Center is slated for spring of 2018 with an anticipated opening no later than the start of the 2020-21 JMU basketball season.
The university is currently finalizing architectural design for the Union Bank & Trust Center with Virginia-based Moseley Architects working alongside veteran sports facility architect, Populous. S.B. Ballard will serve as the general construction manager.
“This facility is a key part of the university’s campus master plan,” Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Charles King said. “The partnership with Union Bank & Trust is a critical step in staying on schedule and moving forward with this project within an appropriate timeframe. I’m thankful for the dedicated work by Capital Outlay Project Manager Glenn Wayland and Assistant A.D. for Facilities & Events Ty Phillips on this project. We look forward to continuing design and construction work with Moseley, Populous and S.B. Ballard as we progress towards a 2020 grand opening.”
Located on the corner of Carrier Drive and University Boulevard, the Union Bank & Trust Center will seat 8,500 guests for basketball games and closer to 10,000 for commencement and other events with additional floor seating. Features of the facility include a club area, courtside seating with a designated private courtside hospitality area, state-of-the-art lighting and audio/video technology including a center-hung scoreboard and upper concourse ribbon boards, a student club area, expanded concessions and restroom availability, a multipurpose group event space, a team store and a Raising Canes restaurant. A 1,500-space parking deck will also be constructed adjacent to the facility concurrently.
The athletics success area of the facility will be highlighted by a separate practice gym and will include offices, academic areas, locker rooms, team meeting rooms, strength and conditioning, sports medicine and other amenities specific to JMU’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. The facility will also house new operations areas for the athletics ticket office as well as the facility and events staff.
Learfield’s JMU Sports Properties manages all sponsorship and media rights for JMU Athletics. General Manager Mike Chatburn said, “We are very excited to have this opportunity to expand our relationship with Union Bank & Trust and enhance a long-standing partnership with JMU Athletics. Union Bank & Trust is one of the most influential businesses in our region and state so we couldn’t be more excited to partner with them to create lasting experiences for sports fans, music fans and families all across our region.”
With the Union Bank & Trust partnership, the university has reached its initial $12 million commitment goal in order to proceed with construction plans. However, individual and corporate fundraising for the project continues in order for it to reach successful completion with all of the outlined amenities.
As part of today’s announcement, the JMU Duke Club is also launching a mass giving campaign calling upon donors and university constituents of all levels to contribute to the construction of the Union Bank & Trust Center. More details on gift opportunities are available at JMUDukeClub.com.
About James Madison Athletics
James Madison University is a NCAA Division I institution located in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Nicknamed the Dukes, JMU sponsors 18 sports, six male and 12 female, with approximately 450 student-athletes and an overall student enrollment of 21,227. The Dukes are part of the Colonial Athletic Association, whose conference footprint covers the East Coast spanning from South Carolina to Massachusetts.
About Union Bankshares Corporation
Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Union Bankshares Corporation (NASDAQ: UBSH) is the holding company for Union Bank & Trust, which has 111 banking offices and approximately 173 ATMs located throughout Virginia. Non-bank affiliates of the holding company include: Union Mortgage Group, Inc., which provides a full line of mortgage products, Old Dominion Capital Management, Inc., which provides investment advisory services, and Union Insurance Group, LLC, which offers various lines of insurance products.
An industry leader for more than four decades, Learfield has a deep presence in the college athletics landscape nationwide. In addition to JMU, it manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for nearly 130 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas, and supports athletic departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup. Learfield also provides its collegiate partners access to professional concessions and ticket sales; branding, licensing and trademark consulting; digital and social platform expertise; campuswide business and sponsorship development; and venue and technology systems through its affiliated companies.
About the JMU Duke Club
The Duke Club is the fundraising arm for James Madison University Athletics. Through the Annual Fund, the unit raises contributions to support nearly 450 JMU student-athletes and the athletic budget. The Duke Club also aides in athletic facility enhancements and other needs through capital campaigns. Through this financial support, the group serves as the key avenue for supporters to be an active part of JMU Athletics’ mission of ensuring an exemplary student-athlete experience emphasizing academic achievement, personal development, social responsibility and competitive excellence.