Kroger to replace Marsh as title sponsor for Symphony on the Prairie

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has quickly found a new title sponsor for its Symphony on the Prairie summer concert series after Marsh Supermarkets ended its 35-year sponsorship run.

The ISO announced Wednesday morning that Kroger Co. would be the new sponsor for the 2017 season, replacing Marsh, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month and is in danger of going out of business.

Fishers-based Marsh had been the title sponsor for the annual outdoor concert series that takes place at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park every year since its inception in 1982.

Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.'s Central Division is based in Indianapolis and operates about 137 food stores, 115 pharmacies and 97 fuel centers, mostly in Indiana and Illinois under the Kroger, Owen’s and Pay Less names.

The 2017 lineup of Symphony on the Prairie includes 28 performance from June 16 through Sept. 3. In 2016, more than 111,000 patrons attended the 28 concerts in the series. Details of the new sponsorship were not immediately available, but the ISO said tickets to the concerts will soon be sold at Kroger stores.

“The ISO and Kroger are proud to announce the beginning of a new partnership which ensures the continuation of a long-standing Hoosier tradition, Kroger Symphony on the Prairie,” ISO said in a written announcement. “The ISO is proud to bring a diverse range of concerts to our beloved summer series, and we are grateful for the generous support of our partners at Kroger.”

Marsh had been expected to be the title sponsor at least through the 2018 season, but after years of store closures following its 2006 purchase by Sun Capital Partners, the grocer filed to reorganize under the protection of bankruptcy on May 11.

ISO officials declined to disclose the value of the Marsh sponsorship deal. But, according to the organization's annual reports, Marsh has contributed at least $100,000 annually to the ISO since 2012.

It's also unclear how much of the most recent three-year sponsorship deal Marsh paid to the ISO. According to the ISO’s financials, Marsh had been required to pay a certain percentage of the sponsorship every year.

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