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Analysis: Inside the full Banterra Center contract for SIU Carbondale

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CARBONDALE — Visitors to the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus will soon be seeing a lot more of Banterra Bank, and not just at the basketball arena, recently renamed the Banterra Center in a 10-year, multimillion-dollar naming rights deal.

A closer look at that naming agreement, provided by the SIUC Athletics Department, shows numerous provisions that will bolster Banterra’s presence on campus and promote its brand.

SIUC’s commitments to the bank are numerous, from big changes like the massive rebranding of the basketball arena, to minute details like making sure landscaping doesn’t obstruct new signage on the arena’s exterior.

Here’s a close look at some key areas of the contract:

Payment

Per the contract, SIUC earns a guaranteed $350,000 per year for naming, advertising and other rights given to Banterra. That’s $3.5 million over the 10-year deal.

The university will also earn another $500,000 to $1.5 million over 10 years in payments to the Banterra Scholarship Fund, which will provide financial aid to SIUC students and student-athletes through scholarships still under design.

Banterra will pay into the fund annually, contributing 33% of the revenues of an exclusive SIU Athletics-branded debit card to be released later this year.

Banterra debit card

A mock-up of the new Saluki-branded Banterra debit card, to be released later this year.

The more revenue the card generates, the greater Banterra’s annual contribution, with a yearly minimum payment of $50,000 and a maximum of $150,000.

“SIU Athletics is committed to maximizing this opportunity with Banterra by promoting the debit card through as many media avenues as possible,” said SIU Associate Athletic Director Jason Fairfield.

With the scholarship payments, SIU’s minimum guaranteed payout is $4 million over 10 years. If the debit card performs well, Banterra’s contribution could reach $5 million.

Should both parties agree to a possible 10-year extension, SIU will earn another $4 million guaranteed and up to $5 million with the scholarship contributions.

However, for SIU Athletics, the true added value of the contract is somewhat lower than those figures, because Banterra’s existing advertising partnership with the university is folded into the new agreement.

Banterra Bank has sponsored Saluki sports for the past 10 years, according to the Athletics Department, most recently paying about $47,600 per year for a slew of sponsor rights during basketball and football games, including radio commercials, scoreboard ads, complimentary tickets and VIP access.

Under the new agreement, those perks and the $47,600 are absorbed into Banterra’s yearly $350,000 naming-rights payment.

Signage

Beyond its existing signage on the basketball and football scoreboards, Banterra’s new agreement will allow it to substantially redecorate the arena.

Its new signage will include a large marquee above the old entrance, two signs on the brick wall near the new entrance, window wraps on the glass over the entrance doors, and a Banterra Center logo on the top of SIU’s marquee sign on U.S. 51.

Banterra Center exterior rendering

In this exterior rendering provided by Saluki Athletics, you can see what the Banterra Center may look like when all of its signage is completed this year. 

Inside, the scoreboard will get a “Banterra Center” redesign, as will the chair backs at both benches, the digital score table boards and the gym floor, with two logos on the court and end court logos.

Meanwhile, all City of Carbondale and Illinois Department of Transportation signs giving directions to the arena will be updated with the new name. That includes signs on U.S. 51, Interstate 57 and Illinois 13.

SIU must also remove any landscaping that blocks the view of the new signs. Advertising mock-ups provided in an appendix to the contract show at least four young trees on the hillside near the arena’s new entrance could be removed.

Banterra Bank will be financially responsible for all signage costs. It will retain ownership of the new Banterra Center logo.

Banterra Center floor rendering

In this floor rendering from Saluki Athletics, you can see what the Banterra Center playing surface may look like when it's completed later this year. SIU is expected to replace the current floor at the arena in August with the new logo, and will now add the Banterra Center logo to the design. 

Advertising

The Banterra Center logo must be prominently displayed on arena letterhead, tickets, parking passes, program books and flyers, as well as on T-shirts for youth basketball camps and on the Saluki backdrop used for TV interviews, where no other financial institution logo may be present.

SIUC must update its websites and social media with the new name, pay to boost the Banterra Center’s presence on search engines like Google, promote the center monthly on SIU social media and include the logo in emails to season ticket holders.

SIU must also spend at least $50,000 in the first year of the agreement to promote the center and its events via radio, TV, newspaper or magazine ads. That required spending increases 3% each year thereafter for the term of the agreement — $1,500 in the first year.

This won’t be a big change, as the majority of the $80,000 annual SIU Athletics marketing budget is already focused on events in the arena, Fairfield said, from Saluki basketball to concerts and high school sports.

“Moving forward Athletics will focus on covering and promoting the Banterra Center with that concentrated blend for all events in the venue,” Fairfield said.

Presence

Banterra stands to gain substantial exposure elsewhere on campus through the deal, for multiple facets of its business.

It gets the right to establish an ATM on campus and the opportunity to lease space for a bank branch at SIUC, if appropriate space is available. The bank did not respond to questions about whether it would exercise that option.

According to the contract, Banterra must get the opportunity to bid any time SIUC solicits financial services, as well as the opportunity to make at least two presentations to university leaders about its financial services, and the right to set up a marketing booth at all SIUC-sponsored events.

051719-nws-siu-arena-1.jpg

Banterra Bank President and CEO Jeff May (from left), SIU Salukis radio announcer Mike Reis, SIU Interim Chancellor John Dunn and SIU Athletic Director Jerry Kill view the logo for the Banterra Center during the announcement of the rebranding of the arena in May.

The bank also gets exclusive space to host receptions during Banterra Center events at least twice a year, plus occasional rights to meeting or conference space on campus.

Context

The arena’s first-ever naming agreement is the largest corporate partnership in the history of Saluki athletics, Fairfield said, in both duration and investment.

It continues an apparent trend of improving financial conditions in the SIUC Athletics Department.

In 2016-2017, SIUC reported an athletics budget deficit of $4.06 million, the largest among public schools in the Missouri Valley Conference. The year before, 2015-2016, the university reported $4.3 million in losses.

More than 50% of the department's funding comes from student fees, which have diminished in recent years, alongside declining enrollment.

But other income has grown markedly with the hire of Athletic Director Jerry Kill, who returned to SIUC in early 2018.

Athletics has raised over $10 million toward Forever SIU, a $75 million university-wide fundraising campaign, well above the $6.5 million benchmark set for the department.

That includes $202,123 that athletics raised during SIUC's annual Day of Giving, more than any other department at the university.

Athletics has also secured numerous new endowments to support athletic scholarships, the department's second-largest expense.

Sixteen of SIU's 17 sports now have at least one endowed scholarship, Fairfield told The Southern in April, and the Salukis' newest sport, women's soccer, may have one by the end of the year.

Since the hire of men’s basketball coach Bryan Mullins in March, season ticket holders have added about 60 new seats to their orders.

Athletics Department personnel expect another buying bump when season tickets go on sale to the general public July 1.

“There’s definitely a positive vibe,” Fairfield said. “We’re excited about the future.”

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Gabriel Neely-Streit is a reporter for The Southern covering higher education.

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