Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
North Little Rock arena changes names
Eddie Ashley (left) and Tyler Brazil with Arkansas Sign and Neon remove Verizon signage Monday from Verizon Arena in North Little Rock. The facility will change to Simmons Bank Arena this week, nearly a year after the bank signed a multi-million dollar deal to acquire naming rights.
FAYETTEVILLE The Arkansas Razorbacks' basketball home in central Arkansas had its name changed Thursday.
The 18,000-seat venue in North Little Rock formerly known as Verizon Arena is now named Simmons Bank Arena. The Pine Bluff-based Simmons Bank paid $10.5 million in November 2018 for naming rights to the facility.
The arena opened in 1999 as Alltel Arena and the name was changed to Verizon Arena in 2009 following a merger between the Alltel and Verizon corporations. Verizon did not express interest in extending its naming rights last year, said Michael Marion, the arena’s general manager.
Arkansas' men's basketball team has played 20 games at the arena and has an 11-9 record. The Razorbacks are scheduled to host Valparaiso there on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.
Earlier that day, at 1 p.m., a game will be played between the Arkansas and Arkansas-Little Rock women's basketball teams at the arena.
The Razorbacks' women have a 7-5 record at the arena, with six of their games played as part of the SEC Tournament in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2015.
Nyssa Kruse of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contributed
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.