Indiana Pacers Ownership Missing Naming Rights Money

Naming rights still for sale.

The Indiana Pacers ownership still needs a new naming rights partner for its Indianapolis NBA home arena. The former partner’s name remains on the building two years following the expiration of its naming rights deal. No one wants to pay for the naming rights. Names come and go; partnerships come and go but something remains constant. Sports journalists always seem eager to call a stadium or an arena by a corporate name and the purchaser of the stadium or arena naming rights wants the sports media to use that name. Twenty years ago, the battle between the corporate rights holder of the football stadium in Denver and a Denver newspaper got out of hand as the financial service was annoyed with the Denver Post’s ignoring the corporate name of the stadium. There is no reason for the media, unless the media is a TV or radio rights holder, to identify a corporate sponsor in reports. But media members seem to delight in using corporate names.

In 2019, Brent Rockwell, then the vice president of corporate, community and public relations for Pacers Sports and Entertainment, claimed the business was in no rush to find a new partner. Is it worth millions of dollars for a company to sink dollars into a building? Some CEOs want to be associated with sports and are willing to make a vanity buy for naming rights and that is what happened in Oakland a decade ago with the city’s Coliseum. But it is not clear if stadium or arena naming rights are worth the cost. The teams want the money as do municipalities who get a share. It is getting more difficult finding companies willing to pay tens of millions annually for naming rights as various sports ownership have found out. But there are some companies still willing to pay the price.

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