local media is reporting that lucas oil has purchased the naming rights for the new football stadium being built in indianapolis. it's a frightfully un-aesthetic namem but if lucas is spending $120 million for it, i guess calling it "lucas stadium" for short won't be too bad. (if you're feeling casual, you can just call it "lucas" or "luke".)
in january i made some snarky comments about how much return lucas oil really gets for providing the "official oil products" for the colts. but buying the naming rights for the stadium is a different matter. lucas will become a de facto househould name, at least in the region. people might not know anything about the company (or even what lucas does), but they'll know the name lucas. is that name recognition worth $120 million?
on fox 59 (no link; no story on the site now), russ mcquaid quipped that indianapolis had been a pioneer in selling stadium naming rights. in terms of football, he'd be right, as apparently the RCA dome was the very first NFL stadium with a corporate naming rights deal in 1994, though phoenix did sell the naming rights to its NBA stadium 5 years earlier.
i'm not a big fan of selling the names of public places to corporate sponsors, but i suppose it's a little less egregious when the rights are sold before the place is even built, as opposed to renaming a space that had stood with a perfectly good name for years.¶