The agreement was announced and signed at a press conference at the KSU Convocation Center.
WellStar will provide the athletic department with $1.25 million over the first three years of the agreement, and then make 12 annual payments of $125,000 through 2029.
Kennesaw State athletic director Vaughn Williams said the sponsorship money will go into the general athletic fund and be used for such things as scholarships, athletic equipment, maintenance and infrastructure projects including the construction of a new press box at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in preparation for the inaugural football season in 2015.
Included in the sponsorship are naming rights for the press box, sponsorship recognition at the KSU Convocation Center, Bailey Park and Stillwell Stadium, and advertising in game programs, television and radio broadcasts. The agreement also includes a 20-year option broken into five-year increments that could extend the agreement to 2049.
In addition, WellStar will now be the “official health system partner of Kennesaw State Athletics.”
“It’s another piece of the puzzle,” Williams said. “We want to surround ourselves with excellence. We always ask ‘What do we need to succeed?’ and we feel we have that in WellStar. They join the foundation for what is going to be a spectacular future here at Kennesaw State.”
The new partnership is the first with the athletic department, but continues a bond between the two Cobb County institutions. For the last 10 years, WellStar has been the title sponsor of Kennesaw State’s WellStar College of Health and Human Services, along as the WellStar School of Nursing. The agreement also is on the heels of a two-week- old announcement that the WellStar Medical Group was assuming the operation of the three on-campus student health clinics.
“Both systems have grown up together hand-in-hand, and we’ve both grown out of being just Cobb County institutions into being relevant in the whole state of Georgia,” said WellStar president and CEO Reynold Jennings. “We have so many advancements on the drawing board and Kennesaw State is going to continue to be an intricate part in those advancements.”
Jennings and Kennesaw State president Dan Papp said they both hope to see other added benefits of this partnership.
“Sometimes the front door to a (college or university) is through athletics,” Papp said.
He added by having the student athletes on campus follow healthy habits, they become role models and can have an impact on the families and children who come to watch them play.
Jennings said it could also help in the local fight against childhood diabetes and obesity.
This is the second multi-million dollar sponsor to team with Kennesaw State athletics. Last February, KSU athletics entered a 10-year, $5 million agreement with Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank.
Fifth Third Bank earned naming rights for what is now Fifth Third Bank Stadium, and it became the official bank of Kennesaw State Athletics.