BLOOMINGTON — There is a new name in town: Grossinger Motors Arena, which is what the downtown Bloomington arena will now be called.
The move is effective immediately after the auto dealership was awarded the naming rights for the next five years.
The company, which is based in the Chicago area, takes over as lead sponsor of the arena from U.S. Cellular that sponsored the city-owned facility until March 31, 2016.
The agreement with Grossinger extends until 2022. The company will pay $175,000 each of the five years — the same amount U.S. Cellular paid.
Grossinger Motors will have first right of refusal for an additional five years based on new terms and conditions driven by market conditions at that time.
Grossinger representatives, at a news conference at the arena Thursday afternoon, said the partnership allows the company to strengthen its ties to the Twin City community.
Grossinger has operated a Twin City dealership, at 1430 Fort Jesse Road, for four years and has operated out of the Chicago area for more than 90 years.
"This is an enormous investment from Grossinger Motors' point of view," said Caroline Grossinger. "We were very excited to become a partner in the community and become more involved with the arts and the sports and the overall community."
She and her brother, Gary, are co-owners of the family-operated business that has 18 auto franchises under 11 different roof tops primarily located in the Chicago area.
Because it no longer has stores in the Twin Cities, U.S. Cellular opted not to renew an agreement that gave the company naming rights for 10 years for $175,000 annually. The agreement expired April 1, 2016.
That same month, the city selected VenuWorks, an Ames, Iowa-based venue management company, to manage the Coliseum. Central Illinois Arena Management had managed the city-owned venue for its first decade of operation, but did not renew its contract that expired on March 31, 2016.
Among VenuWorks' objectives in reviving the facility's revenue streams was finding a new naming sponsor.
The naming rights agreement will be presented to the City Council for approval at its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.
City Manager David Hales applauded VenuWorks Associate Executive Director Terry Dederich's efforts in securing new naming rights for the arena.
"We appreciate all of their hard work and what they have accomplished this past year and now we're looking forward to even greater accomplishments and progress in this next year with a our new partner, Grossinger Motors," said Hales.
The naming rights agreement materialized after Dederich approached Grossinger Motors's ad agency about three months ago related to some advertising opportunities.
"VenuWorks really educated us," said Caroline Grossinger. "We came into the building and we were able to see what was all involved. We spoke to a lot of people in the community and how much they attend things here."
VenuWorks will begin immediately to re-brand everything about the arena — from new business cards and letterhead to signage inside and the marquee outside, said Lynn Cannon, the arena's executive director.
The signs will be put up as soon soon as they are made, she said.
"We are looking forward to additional team announcements and venue event announcements in the near future," she added.