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Goodbye, Sun Dome; Hello, Yuengling Center

Courtesy of USF Athletics
Mock-up of the Yuengling Center, which will change its name from the USF Sun Dome July 1 under a deal announced Tuesday.

The building currently known as the University of South Florida Sun Dome will soon have a new name - one that's well-known to Tampa Bay area beer drinkers.

Under a 10-year deal announced Tuesday, the home of the USF basketball and volleyball teams - as well as other events like concerts and graduation ceremonies for USF and local high schools - will soon be known as the Yuengling Center.

D.G. Yuengling and Son is America's oldest brewery, originating in 1829 in Pennsylvania. The company opened a brewery about a mile away from USF's Tampa campus in 1999.

Financial terms of the deal, which takes effect July 1, weren't announced. It was negotiated by Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties (TBEP), which has managed the facility since May 2017. That business is operated by Jeff Vinik, who owns the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and Amalie Arena.

According to the terms of the 2017 deal, TBEP will receive 35 percent of USF's annual naming rights net profit.

"Upon assuming management of the Sun Dome and the multimedia rights for USF Athletics we identified the joint priority of selling naming rights to arena," said Steve Griggs, Chief Executive Officer for Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment, parent company of TBEP.

"And we pledged to the University that we would identify a reputable company with solid leadership and a strong local presence, one that USF would be proud to call a sponsor. D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., led by the Yuengling family, will prove to be a great partner for the University and its constituents."

Visitors and students will notice messages about responsible drinking inside the arena and throughout the Tampa campus. There will be designated ride share locations inside the 10,500-seat arena, as well as Yuengling-funded initiatives with the USF student body.

"In Tampa Bay and across the country, the Yuengling family is known for its commitment to the community," said USF System President Judy Genshaft. "We are grateful to have such a well-known and reputable family associated with USF. We especially appreciate the efforts to promote corporate and social responsibility as part of this new affiliation."

"Beyond naming rights, we'll continue to support the greater Tampa community and on the campus of USF with the popular Handshake Internship Program, a scholarship for a veteran to attend USF's Brewing Arts Program, and upcoming social responsibility initiatives," added Jen Yuengling, a sixth generation brewer. "Yuengling Brewery is a family company, first and foremost, and we think this partnership is a great way to help further enhance the local community."

The move wasn't the only name change announced on the Tampa campus Tuesday.

Credit Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media
The USF Board of Trustees meet Tuesday morning in Traditions Hall in the Gibbons Alumni Center on the Tampa Campus.

Earlier in the day, USF Trustees approved six naming projects worth $3.5 million.

Genshaft and her husband, Steve Greenbaum, gave $1 million for the Genshaft Greenbaum plaza at the planned USF Football Center, as well as another $1 million gift that will go to a student center in their name at the Morsani College of Medicine - Heart Institute that's part of Vinik's Water Street project in downtown Tampa.

The indoor field at the Football Center will bear the names of Joseph A. Savage, Jr. and Jane G. Savage, thanks to their $1 million gift.

And in one more name change, this one not involving any money, trustees voted to re-designate the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute as the USF Health Neuroscience Institute.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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