Old National Bank puts name on Murat Centre

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Old National Bank is putting its name on the Murat Centre in downtown Indianapolis at a time when most banking industry players are looking for ways to reduce expenditures.

“We don’t have that many community banks with the size to make that type of investment,” Carmel-based banking consultant Michael Renninger said.  “I think it’s a pretty courageous move.”

Officials at Old National Bancorp and Live Nation, which runs the century-old Murat Centre, could not be reached for comment Monday. Live Nation plans a press conference for Tuesday morning.

The voice-mail system at the Murat, however, already greets callers with this message: "You have reached the Old National Center, a Live Nation venue."
Evansville-based Old National had almost no retail presence in Central Indiana until a year ago, when it acquired 65 former Charter One branches. Old National is trying to become “Indiana’s bank,” so it could hardly overlook the state capitol and largest metropolitan area, Renninger said.

Renninger said buying naming rights makes sense, considering the bank’s marketing goal.

“It helps them be seen as a local bank,” he said.

Old National, which is publicly traded, is the largest Indiana-based bank, but its market share in the Indianapolis area is still relatively small. As of June 30, 2009, the bank had $704.7 million in local deposits and 2.53 percent of the market.

Old National likely will pay Live Nation much less than corporate sponsors have paid for splashy new buildings. William Chipps, senior editor of IEG Sponsorship Report in Chicago, guessed Old National would pay a six-figure annual fee in the low to middle range.

"I would be surprised if it's in the million dollars," Chipps said.

In contrast, Conseco agreed to pay $40 million over 20 years for the Pacers’ home downtown. Lucas Oil is paying $121.5 million over 20 years to have its name on the Colts’ new stadium.

Live Nation, which has title sponsors for almost all its venues, might have had trouble finding a buyer for the Murat Centre, Chipps said.

Despite the name change, people will likely refer to the Murat by its original name for years to come, he said.

"That's not necessarily what a sponsor wants," he said.

Live Nation runs the Murat Centre under a 99-year lease deal with the city of Indianapolis and the Murat Shriners of Indianapolis, according the chronology posted on the Shriners’ Web site.

The deal was originally struck with Sunshine Promotions, which spent $12 million on building improvements in the mid-1990s. Seating in the Murat Theatre was expanded from under 2,000 seats to about 2,500.

One of the theater’s main users is Broadway Across America.

The Egyptian Room, a smaller venue in the facility, hosts a variety of popular music and comedy acts.



  • Bad move
    When will these businesses learn that this is a bad idea - to rename a community's beloved historic landmarks? I'd much rather hear the name of a corporate sponser mentioned and thanked at the beginning and intermission of events than this practice. My first impulse is to boycott a sponsor of this kind of rude intrusion. Marketers! Have you really researched this?!
  • This is stupid
    So how much of the naming money went to the Shriners?
  • Where?
    "We're going to see Jerry Seinfeld; do you want to go?"

    "Where is the show?"

    "The Old National Center."


    "The Murat."

    "Oh! Sure we'll go."
  • Tacky
    So this is extremely tacky and a real tarnish to a wonderful neighborhood. There goes the property value. They should be ashamed.
  • Oh no!
    "[Old National] could hardly overlook the state capitol..."

    Oh no! What will it be, the Old National General Assembly? What's next, the Bank of America White House?

    • bills
      I have no problem with this because it helps the Murat stay alive as an entertainment venue. In this economy, everyone's struggling. If they were to announce they were replacing the mural with a giant Old National logo, then I'd have a problem.
    • sorry
      I'm really sorry to learn this. It somehow lessens its class. However, I do understand that money always seems to talk, especially in this economy, unfortunately.
    • Disappointing
      Definitely not a fan of when current buildings/venues have their name changed to a corporate name after the fact. Ugh.
    • Old National
      This is ridiculous - it'll always be the Murat Temple/Center despite what Old National would like - what a bunch of losers.

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