The Sears Centre Arena has a new name today: the Now Arena

  • A digital rendering of how the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates will appear after the signs that branded the 11,000-seat venue as the Sears Centre Arena are removed and replaced during the coming weeks and months. There has never been a sign on the roof of the building in the past.

    A digital rendering of how the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates will appear after the signs that branded the 11,000-seat venue as the Sears Centre Arena are removed and replaced during the coming weeks and months. There has never been a sign on the roof of the building in the past. Courtesy of NOW Arena

  • Though it will take several weeks to change the signs that branded it as the Sears Centre Arena for 14 years, the village of Hoffman Estates' 11,000-seat entertainment venue officially becomes the Now Arena this morning.

      Though it will take several weeks to change the signs that branded it as the Sears Centre Arena for 14 years, the village of Hoffman Estates' 11,000-seat entertainment venue officially becomes the Now Arena this morning. JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer, 2009

 
 
Posted9/1/2020 5:30 AM

Hoffman Estates' 11,000-seat entertainment venue known as the Sears Centre Arena for 14 years officially becomes the Now Arena this morning.

That's when the 15-year, $11.25 million naming-rights deal with Bloomingdale-based Now Health Group Inc. replaces the one for which Transformco -- the company that's emerged from Sears Holding Corp.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing -- has been paying $600,000 per year.

 

The immediate change today is to the arena's internet and social media presence, though any searches for the old website will automatically forward to nowarena.com for the next year.

Not quite as quick but expected to start in a week or so will be changes to roadway and directional signs outside the building, arena Director of Partnerships Mike Czopek said. Most of those signs are being made now, but they should entirely replace the Sears Centre branding within 8 to 10 weeks, he said.

One that won't have to wait as long will be the large Now Arena logo on top of the roof where the Sears Centre never had one, Czopek said. It's expected to begin being painted soon after Labor Day weekend and, weather permitting, take only about a week.

Rebranding of the interior, the use of which is still restricted by COVID-19 protocols, remains at the planning stage but is expected to begin within 90 days, Czopek said.

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With even the scheduling of the Windy City Bulls' next season in flux, it's not yet been possible to identify an event that would be known as the Now Arena's first, he said.

But even amid the pandemic, officials from Now Health Group Inc. expressed great enthusiasm for the arena's future when the new naming-rights agreement was announced this summer.

Now Health Group is a 52-year-old, family-owned company with a portfolio of more than 1,500 health and natural-based products, including supplements, sports nutrition, foods, beauty and essential oils. It has more than 900 full-time employees and owns the 13 Fruitful Yield natural health food stores in the Chicago area.

As for withdrawing Sears and Transformco, village officials expressed gratitude for the companies' long-term commitment to the arena's branding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We're appreciative to Sears for all they've done at the arena," said Mark Koplin, the owner's representative for the venue. "We hope to keep them involved somehow. But we're excited to open the next chapter with Now."

He added it's not uncommon for naming rights to change and statistically, 14 years could be considered a good run.

Mayor Bill McLeod agreed, adding the company headquartered in the village for 30 years continues to be a part of the Hoffman Estates community.

"Certainly we've valued our relationship with Sears," he said. "We have to respect their decision."

John Russick, senior vice president of the Chicago History Museum, said Sears' naming-rights withdrawal seems like a significant move for the struggling company.

Though he acknowledged that other companies do walk away from such agreements, Russick said this seems like a turning point for a Chicago-area institution whose history has been one of building and maintaining a national presence.

"It says something that they feel this is not an investment worth making anymore," Russick said.

But he added no historian can ignore the resilience Sears has demonstrated in the face of many challenges over more than 130 years.

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