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MSU officials are in the process of marketing the naming rights to JQH Arena.
Photo provided by Missouri State University
MSU officials are in the process of marketing the naming rights to JQH Arena.

JQH Arena naming rights settled, now available

JD Holdings will pay Missouri State over $10 million in settlement

Posted online

Missouri State University and JD Holdings LLC have reached a settlement regarding the amount owed to the school for naming rights of JQH Arena, and a potential name change is on the horizon.

According to the terms, which are pending court approval, JD Holdings will pay $8.4 million over four installments beginning in 2019 and ending in 2022. The company already paid $1.8 million in May, bringing the total settlement amount to $10.2 million.

With the agreement, MSU officials can now pursue a new suitor to stick a name on the 11,000-seat campus arena at 685 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway.

“We’re in the process of marketing those naming rights,” said Rachel Dockery, MSU general counsel to the president.

She said the school’s naming rights’ process usually takes six to 12 months.

“Donors or supporters will reach out to the university to express interest in a particular area or, if we have a need, we contact companies who are past or current supporters with a strong presence in southwest Missouri or Springfield,” Dockery said.

She said school officials have reached out to a handful of unnamed companies and individuals.

The university began talks with JD Holdings after the company took control of the late John Q. Hammons’ assets after a bankruptcy ruling in May, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

Dockery said new revenue from the arena renaming would go toward bond payments of the remaining construction costs for the $67 million arena. MSU originally entered into the naming rights agreement with the Revocable Trust of John Q. Hammons in 2006, when it pledged $30 million toward the construction. JQH Arena opened in 2007, and since Hammons’ trust made payments totaling $24.4 million to MSU.

“Our belief, hope and expectation from the money from JD Holdings and naming rights will satisfy the bond payments,” Dockery said.

Atrium Hospitality, a JD Holdings subsidiary, took control of most of 150 former Hammons’ properties after a roughly $1 billion buyout this summer.

Dockery said JD Holdings will pay $1.8 million for the next three years and $3 million in the fourth year to cover the settlement amount. Payments will be due on March 31 of each year until 2022.

The settlement was approved by the MSU Board of Governors Executive Committee on Sept. 19 with approval from the Foundation Board of Trustees on Sept. 21, according to a university news release. Terms were submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy court in the District of Kansas for final approval.

“We are very pleased with the settlement agreement. We think the terms are fair,” MSU president Clif Smart said in the release. “And we’re optimistic that between the settlement and the resale of the naming rights, the university will recoup the amount still owed.”

A lease agreement also was struck for Hammons Field to clear up uncertainty of the college baseball team’s future at the stadium. The university and JD Holdings have agreed to let the Bears play its home games at the stadium through 2030.

MSU will pay $225,000 per year, subject to an annual consumer price index increase, for the next 12 years, according to the release. The team began playing games in the stadium in 2004.

A license fee to the JD Holdings will cost the university $46,875 from March 14, 2019, to June 30, 2019, said Dockery. The following annual fee will be $225,000 from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, with the contract adjusted by the CPI in Kansas City the following years.

The current lease runs through March 13, Dockery said, but the change in dates will allow it to align with the school’s fiscal year.

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