The agreement was announced and signed during a news conference at the KSU Convocation Center.
Kennesaw State athletic director Vaughn Williams said the sponsorship money will go into the general athletic fund and be used for a number of purposes, including scholarships, athletic equipment, maintenance and infrastructure projects. The projects include the construction of a new press box at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in preparation for the inaugural season of football in 2015.
Included in the sponsorship deal are naming rights for the stadium press box and sponsorship recognition at the KSU Convocation Center, Bailey Park and Stillwell Stadium, and advertising in game programs and on television and radio broadcasts. The agreement also includes a 20-year option broken into five-year increments to extend the sponsorship past 2029.
In addition, Marietta-based WellStar will now be known as the “Official Health System Partner of Kennesaw State Athletics.”
“It’s another piece of the puzzle,” Williams said. “We want to surround ourselves with excellence. We always ask, ‘What do we need to succeed?’ and we feel we have that in WellStar. They join the foundation for what is going to be a spectacular future here at Kennesaw State.”
The new partnership is the first with the athletic department, but a continuing bond between the two Cobb County institutions. For the last 10 years, WellStar has been the title sponsor of the university’s WellStar College of Health and Human Services and the WellStar School of Nursing. The agreement also is on the heels of a two-week-old announcement that WellStar would assume the operation of the three on-campus student health clinics.
“Both systems have grown up together hand-in-hand, and we’ve both grown out of being just Cobb County institutions into being relevant in the whole state of Georgia,” said WellStar president and CEO Reynold Jennings. “We have so many advancements on the drawing board and Kennesaw State is going to continue to be an intricate part in those advancements.”
Jennings and Kennesaw State president Dan Papp said they both hope to see other added benefits of this partnership.
“Sometimes, the front door to a (college or university) is through athletics,” Papp said.
Papp added that by having the student-athletes on campus and following healthy habits, they can become role models and have an impact on the families and children who come to watch them play.
Jennings said it could also aid in the local fight against childhood diabetes and obesity.
This is the second sponsor to team with the Kennesaw State athletic department on a multimillion-dollar agreement. Last February, KSU entered into a 10-year, $5 million agreement Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank.
The bank earned naming rights for the 8,300-seat stadium that will host the football program and currently houses the university’s women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse programs. Fifth Third also became the official bank of the Kennesaw State athletic department.