By Josh Cohen
May 23, 2017
LAKELAND – The RP Funding Center, formerly the Lakeland Center and the new home of the Lakeland Magic, is one of the most prodigious venues in Florida.
Since opening its doors in 1974, this facility has provided guests with exceptional entertainment. Polk County residents and visitors have gathered there on many occasions to enjoy live musical performances, sports competition and other major events, conferences and conventions.
The venue’s new name will now only enhance the experiences guests have when they walk into the building and likely increase the number of events that take place there.
At the helm of all this excitement is RP Funding CEO Robert Palmer, a local prodigy and proud partner of the Lakeland Magic.
Palmer’s high school graduation ceremony actually took place at the Lakeland Center 19 years ago and now he hopes his devotion to the Magic and local community will help strengthen the entire region.
“I’m excited about the things we can do to try and bring more amazing events to this building,” Palmer said on Tuesday during the unveiling of the center’s new name. “It’s absolutely amazing. I couldn’t be prouder. We started down this road of doing the due diligence on putting our name on a building, it’s something we wanted to do and when that opportunity lined up in my hometown it made it all that much sweeter.”
RP Funding will receive exterior and interior building signage along with television, radio, print and social media promotion. The five-year naming rights agreement will generate additional revenue toward the operation and maintenance of the facility.
Palmer’s devoutness to his hometown and those who are just as dedicated and enthusiastic to the community as he is is one of the primary reasons the Magic chose Lakeland to be the home of their D-League team.
“This is clearly going to be Lakeland’s community team and what better person to partner with than Robert Palmer and his family of companies that really grew up here and were founded here,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “Our goals are completely aligned. Robert is trying to grow his business along the I-4 corridor and we’re trying to continue to grow that Magic brand all the way along the I-4 corridor from Orlando all the way to Tampa. It’s a perfect partnership.”
In and around Lakeland you can already get a sense of how thrilled the people of this community are about the arrival of the Magic’s D-League team. Not only will it help the Magic evaluate and develop talent, it will also give the people of this community a team they can be proud of and rally around.
“We’re looking forward to many memorable moments ahead in the RP Funding Center,” Lakeland Magic President Shelly Wilkes said. “RP Funding represents the excellence we strive for in bringing our product to our fans and stakeholders.”
The RP Funding Center features an 8,000 seat Jenkins Arena, a 2,200 seat Youkey Theatre and 100,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space.