Simmons Bank of Pine Bluff on Friday announced that it's in negotiations for naming rights to the field at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
It's the second stadium sponsorship deal the growing bank has announced this month as it continues efforts to increase brand visibility. The bank is also close to a deal for the naming rights to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, which will be renamed Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.
War Memorial Stadium has undergone several renovations since being built in 1948 and will see additional improvements as part of the sponsorship with Simmons, the bank said in a news release.
A bank spokesperson could not provide details on those improvements, financial terms of the deal or when it's expected to be finalized. The spokesperson cited ongoing negotiations with the state Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, which manages the stadium.
“We have established a strong partnership with Simmons Bank and look forward to enhancing the stadium to continue to provide a world-class venue for the community and our visitors to enjoy," Kevin Crass, chairman of the War Memorial Stadium Commission, said in the release.
The multi-purpose stadium, which has a capacity of 54,120, hosts one University of Arkansas football game per year, along with multiple high school football games, concerts and home games for the semi-pro Little Rock Rangers soccer team. It was built as a tribute to Arkansas military veterans who died in World Wars I and II.
AT&T purchased the naming rights to the field in 2010 for $1.8 million, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Veterans groups insisted that the stadium's name not be changed from War Memorial as part of the 10-year-deal.
“War Memorial Stadium has a rich history as a sports and entertainment venue that honors our state’s veterans,” said Stacy Hurst, director of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “With the support of Simmons Bank, we will be able to make sure that the stadium remains a state treasure for many years to come.”
Simmons' announcement comes the day before the Razorback football team plays the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff at the stadium. It's the Hogs' first in-state matchup since 1944.
The bank has acquired naming rights to several high-profile buildings in central Arkansas in recent years, including the former Verizon Arena and a 12-story building in downtown Little Rock that used to be Acxiom's headquarters.
This month, it announced the purchase of Bank OZK's former headquarters in west Little Rock, a four-story building with 90,000 SF of Class A office space.
The bank acquired naming rights to the state's tallest building, a 40-story skyscraper in downtown Little Rock, after the acquisition of Metropolitan National Bank in 2014.