The Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville is coming in 2020. Photo: Warren LeMay

Eastern Cherokee casino wins approval of $5.75 million naming rights deal

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is extending its gaming brand to Asheville, North Carolina.

In a naming rights deal worth up to $5.75 million over 10 years, the main entertainment venue in Asheville will be known as the "Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville." The agreement starts on January 1, 2020.

“The city of Asheville is looking forward to growing our relationship with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians through the naming rights for the Civic Center,” Mayor Esther Manheimer said in a press release. “We appreciate the investment they are making in downtown Asheville.”

The city council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to enter into the agreement. It calls for Harrah's Cherokee to $3.25 million over five years. Potential extensions would bring the total value to $5.75 million over 10 years.

The tribe owns the Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort and the newer Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel on its homelands in the western part of the state. Asheville is about an hour's drive from Harrah's Cherokee and and about 2 hours from Harrah's Cherokee Valley River.

The civic center, located in downtown Asheville, is home to the Arena and the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. It was branded as "U.S. Cellular Center Asheville" under a deal that ends on December 31, 2019. U.S. Cellular submitted a proposal but it was valued at far less than the tribe's.

Read More on the Story
Asheville City Council approves Harrah's Cherokee bid for downtown venue naming rights (The Asheville Citizen-Times May 28, 2019)
Most Asheville Council members won't comment on $5.8M Civic Center naming rights proposal (The Asheville Citizen-Times May 25, 2019)
Asheville Downtown Commission vote favors Harrah's bid for Civic Center naming rights (The Asheville Citizen-Times May 23, 2019)

Relevant Documents
Naming Rights Staff Report | Naming Rights Staff Presentation | Harrah's Cherokee Presentation | U.S. Cellular Presentation

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