The end of an era: Sun Dome officially renamed Yuengling Center

By Josh Fiallo, Managing Editor
On June 13, 2018

For the first time since it was built in 1980, the Sun Dome will have a new name – the Yuengling
Center – which will go in to effect July 1 and last at least 10 years. ORACLE PHOTO/CHAVELI GUZMAN

After 38 years of bearing the same name, USF’s largest structure will be known as the Sun Dome no more.

Effective July 1, the USF Sun Dome will be re-named the Yuengling Center. The renaming comes after USF, Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties (TBEP) and Yuengling, America’s oldest beer company, announced a 10-year agreement for naming rights to the arena Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s a great community partnership and I know we’ll have a lot great events in here and build both the USF and Yuengling brand together,” USF Interim Athletic Director Scott Kull said. “I think it will be transformative.”

The arena has been called the Sun Dome since it was opened Nov. 29, 1980. It currently holds a capacity of 10,411 and has served as the home arena for USF men’s and women’s basketball since its inception.

In addition to hosting sporting events, the arena has hosted numerous commencement ceremonies, both high school and collegiate, as well as hundreds of concerts — including Elton John in 2012, the same year $36 million was poured into the arena for improvements.

Since the Sun Dome is not owned by USF and is operated by TBEP, details into how much the naming rights cost were not made available at Tuesday’s announcement ceremony at the Yuengling Center.

In addition to naming rights, the deal will grant Yuengling east- and west-side field-level signs and LED ribbon board branding in Raymond James Stadium for USF home football games and signage at USF baseball and softball games. The company, which was established in 1829, will also receive other minor benefits — such as tickets to events held inside the Yuengling Center.

Yuengling is the largest U.S.-owned brewer that makes all of its beer in America, with its largest brewery located less than a mile from USF on North 30th Street, which directly connects to Fowler Avenue.

According to Statista.com, Yuengling’s Traditional Lager brought in $149.7 million in revenue to the company in 2017, which was 12th most among all U.S. domestic beers, with Bud Light ($2 billion) profiting the most.

“I think this is important to us because we really consider Tampa to be our second home,” Jennifer Yuengling, Yuengling’s vice president of operations, said. “Tampa has become one of our largest markets, Tampa is our largest brewery and the state of Florida as a whole has become one of our biggest consumer markets.”

The announcement of the renaming came just hours after USF announced Tuesday at a Board of Trustees meeting other naming projects for future USF structures. Some of the projects included naming structures such as “Genshaft Greenbaum Plaza at the USF Football Center” and “Genshaft Greenbaum Student Center at the MCOM-HI Water Street building,” after USF System President Judy Genshaft and her husband, Steven Greenbaum, donated $1 million to each project.

Genshaft made no comment about her donations at the Yuengling Center announcement Tuesday.

“We’re super excited about the Yuengling Center, we’ve had a presence here in the Tampa community for close to 20 years now,” Yuengling said. “We purchased the Stroh Brewery back in 1999 so we’re starting to develop some great partnerships, with one of them being USF.”

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