A yearslong process to rename JQH Arena has come to pass.
Missouri State University this morning announced a name change, effective immediately, to Great Southern Bank Arena, according to a news release. The Springfield-based banking company is donating $5.5 million for the naming rights, with its branding expected to be installed by the beginning of the 2022-23 basketball season.
"The prospect of adding the Great Southern name to the arena was met with great enthusiasm and interest by our team," said Joe Turner, the company's president and CEO, in the release. “With our history and shared values with the university, we believe that this level of support is a natural fit."
Great Southern Bank has made donations to the university since the creation of the MSU Foundation in 1981. Turner additionally has served on the MSU Board of Governors and the foundation's board.
“Great Southern Bank has given to all areas of the university,” MSU President Clif Smart said in the release. “They are a phenomenal partner in supporting academics, scholarships and athletics, and we are grateful for their leadership in the community.”
The name change was confirmed during a closed session of the MSU board yesterday.
The naming rights to the arena became available in 2018 amid the fallout of late hotelier John Q. Hammons' bankrupt estate, according to past reporting. JD Holdings LLC, which took control of Hammons’ assets amid the bankruptcy proceedings, that year reached a $10.2 million settlement with MSU related to the amount owed to the school for naming rights of JQH 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 of the $67 million arena. JQH Arena opened in 2007, and as of 2018, his trust had made payments totaling $24.4 million to MSU, Springfield Business Journal previously reported.
Last year, MSU's Smart said the university was in "serious conversations" with an undisclosed entity for the arena's naming rights.
The 11,000-seat arena at 685 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway serves as a venue for basketball games, concerts, graduation ceremonies and other events. It opened in 2007.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May the all-items inflation index surged 8.6% over the past year, the highest increase since 1981.