City of Asheville to open process for Civic Center naming rights

With support from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority and additional proceeds from a naming rights agreement with U.S. Cellular, the City of Asheville began executing a master plan of improvements to the facility in 2010. These renovations included expanding the Thomas Wolfe lobby, updating Arena seating, new scoreboards and electronic displays, sound and lighting improvements, and general interior refurbishing.


ASHEVILLE — The City of Asheville is seeking interested parties for licensing agreements for the naming rights of the Civic Center, with the current naming rights licensed to U.S. Cellular Inc. as the U.S. Cellular Center. Staff’s goal is “to contract a licensing agreement with a notable company or individual that is culturally and socially compatible with the local community.”


U.S. Cellular agreement

On Nov. 22, 2011, City Council passed Resolution No. 11-228 approving execution of a naming rights licensing agreement with U.S. Cellular Inc. The naming rights agreement was a pivotal moment in the City’s ability to launch renovations to the arena and common spaces within the Civic Center. Over four years, total renovations tallied to nearly $15 million.

The current naming rights agreement has total term value of $1.35 million and expires on Dec. 31, 2019. The City has enjoyed the eight-year relationship with U.S. Cellular and hopes to continue a relationship moving into the future.



Although U.S. Cellular has been a great partner to the facility, the City feels, as with all processes, it is a best practice to open the process and and negotiate a licensing agreement that is in the best interest of the Civic Center and the City as a whole. City Staff will conduct a search and negotiations process for licensing of naming rights under the following outlined timetable:

  • Inform U.S. Cellular of planned naming rights process — complete.
  • Host a public information meeting — 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the U.S. Cellular Center banquet hall.
  • Conduct meetings and begin negotiations with interested parties — fall 2018.
  • Present ‘best offer(s)’ to City Council, spring 2019.
  • Begin extension with U.S. Cellular or new agreement with new licensee — Jan. 1, 2020.


U.S. Cellular Center facts

  • 251,495: 2017 Attendance *a record attendance year.
  • 198,559: Average annual attendance.
  • 255: Average number of days annually the facility is in use.
  • 4: Number of events filmed at the facility to be part of a Netflix special in fiscal year 2017.
  • 22: Number of events broadcast live or via web stream at the facility in fiscal year 2017.
  • $68,969: Total dollars earned by local volunteer groups working concession stands in fiscal year 2017.


For more information about the U.S. Cellular Center, visit