Partnership between UK, Kroger Taking Shape

Partnership between UK, Kroger Taking Shape

by Guy Ramsey
LEXINGTON, Ky. – With the countdown to the 2017 season approaching its final month, exterior Kroger Field signage at the newly renamed home of Kentucky football has been installed.

Signage includes a large “Welcome to Kroger Field” sign facing Nicholasville Road and backlit Kroger Field signs outside the North and South sides of the stadium. Additional signage will be installed leading up to UK’s home opener on Sept. 9.

Kroger will also have a significant presence on game day this year, starting with priority lines of entry at gate 6 of Kroger Field for Kroger Plus Card holders. Fans will also be able to gain access to these priority lines by bringing canned good to be donated to God’s Pantry on behalf of Kroger. Concessions stands throughout Kroger Field will offer the Kroger Meal Deal on game day, packing UK football fans’ favorite combinations throughout the season. Kroger’s Simple Truth brand will also be offered throughout the lower concourse, giving fans additional healthy snack alternatives this season.

“The first months of our partnership with Kroger have been productive,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “When we made the announcement in May, we believed we had found a partner that shares our commitment to making this state and this university the best they can be. Our work together to this point has shown us that Kroger is exactly that kind of partner. We look forward to our fans and the people of our state experiencing the fruits of our partnership.”

Kroger will also host a VIP tailgate event before each home game. Kroger customers will be invited to a free tailgate featuring food and beverage with additional details set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Though Kroger Field may be home to the most visible examples of the partnership between the University of Kentucky, the Kroger Company, and UK Sports and Campus Marketing, a JMI Sports property, the most powerful ones can be found elsewhere.

“We could not be more honored to be a part of this comprehensive partnership,” said Ann Reed, president of Kroger’s Louisville division. “We look forward to showing what can be accomplished when two iconic brands like UK and Kroger, which have similar values, work together on our shared community priorities.”

The Kroger Fields Community Program tops the list.

Through the partnership, Kroger will provide grants across the Commonwealth of Kentucky to improve playing fields and facilities and benefit communities throughout the state. A committee has been formed to identify and select the fields that will receive these grants and is made up of the following people:

• Former UK quarterback Freddie Maggard

• Former UK defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon
• UK softball head coach Rachel Lawson
• UK Executive Associate Athletics Director Kevin Saal
• UK Sports and Campus Marketing Vice President Kim Shelton
• Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager Erin Grant
• Kroger assistant store manager Josh Hughes

The Kroger partnership is also set to make an impact on campus this month. As the Official Grocery Partner of Move-In, Kroger will provide grocery carts to help students move into their new residences in addition to having a presence at Lex Mart, Campus Ruckus and Big Blue U. Finally, there will be a shopping event at the Kroger Euclid location close to campus with games and prizes to welcome students to UK.

“The collaboration with Kroger is designed to promote our shared goals of health and wellness, community engagement, enhanced experiences for our community, and naming rights,” said UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday. “But since this is a comprehensive partnership, the relationship goes even deeper than that. We are excited that this partnership will allow us to further enhance the move-in experience for our students and their families.”

As the Official Nutrition Partner of UK Athletics, Kroger is working closely with UK Performance Nutrition to deliver products of the highest quality to Wildcat athletes across all sports. UK Performance Nutrition is an innovative program through which UK Athletics focused on Fueling the Cats and educating them for a lifetime of healthy eating.

UK Performance Nutrition will be highlighted throughout the year on the UK Sports Network, giving an inside look into what fuels the Cats and sharing recipes with Kroger shoppers and UK fans.

Returning to Kroger Field, Kroger, UK Sports and Campus Marketing, and the University of Kentucky are collaborating to create a mural at the stadium to celebrate the partnership between the three parties. The mural will be a visual reflection of Kroger’s commitment to the State of Kentucky and the university.

“We are proud this partnership with Kroger is proving to be as comprehensive as we hoped it would be,” UK Sports and Campus Marketing President Paul Archey said. “Kroger is already making an impact on UK Athletics, the University of Kentucky and the Commonwealth and that impact will only grow in the coming years.”

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