NBC Calls Indianapolis Colts Stadium “The Luke”

by +Tricia on September 7, 2008

In Indianapolis (and even on the Wikipedia), some have given the new home of the Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, the nickname “The Luke.” A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the Indiana Business Journal talking about how Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil essentially demanded that no one call the Lucas Oil Stadium “The Luke.” His argument was based on the fact that calling it “The Luke” would give free advertising to one of his competitors, Lukoil of Russia.

The article was interesting in that it gave a little bit of the history of stadiums with corporate names and how fans tend to use the nicknames but broadcasters understand the monetary value of naming rights and use the proper names now. In fact, the city of Indianapolis negotiated with “ESPN, NBC and other NFL broadcasters” to ensure that the RCA Dome was called by its corporate name on air and not “The Dome” or “The Hoosier Dome” as most fans called it.

Obviously no one informed NFL sideline reporter Andrea Kremer about any of that. During tonight’s game (the first NFL regular season game in Lucas Oil Stadium), Ms. Kremer was describing the new stadium and started right off by saying that the stadium is called “The Luke.” I actually rewound the Tivo to make sure I heard her right.

It’s an interesting topic for discussion. When a corporation pays a lot of money for naming rights to something, should people honor that purchase and use the name? Or does it just come with the territory when you buy naming rights that people will still continue to call it whatever they want and you need to use your PR department to encourage use of the real name as opposed to trying to strong-arm the fans and the media? Either way, I have a feeling that this is not the last that we have heard about “The Luke.”

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