Government

New stadium rising; city preparing for Super Bowl bid:

January 1, 2007

The concrete columns of the Indianapolis Colts' new $675 million stadium began rising out of the ground in early 2006.

Soon thereafter, the new venue had a name. In March, California-based Lucas Oil Products agreed to a 20-year, $121.5 million naming rights deal.

Meanwhile, city and team officials in 2006 began discussions they hope will lead to attracting the Super Bowl to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2011.

The Lucas Oil pact is one of a flurry of sponsorship deals the Colts hope to cut to help the team remain competitive, despite the city's small-market status among NFL cities.

Under the stadium deal the Colts negotiated with government officials in 2005, the team gets to keep all naming-rights-related revenue. So the franchise is making the most out of it. In August, the Colts rolled out a plan to parcel out naming and design rights for 12 parts of the stadium.

In December, ProLiance Energy became the first to snag one of the sponsorships, signing one of the suite level sponsorships for about $600,000 annually.

All told, those additional deals are expected to generate up to $10 million annually for the franchise after the retractable-roof stadium opens in 2008.

When the stadium project was under discussion in 2005, Paul Tagliabue, then the NFL's commissioner, said the new venue would put the city in the running to host a Super Bowl.

Team and city officials have set their sights on the 2011 game-the first one not yet awarded.

But competition could be stiff.

In July, the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas officials announced they would bid to host the game at their new, $1 billion stadium, to be completed in 2009.

Officials in Glendale, Ariz.-home of the NFL's Phoenix Cardinals-threw their hat in the ring in November, shortly after hurricane-scarred New Orleans made its desire to host the 2011 game known.

Indianapolis officials said they will determine in January whether to go forward with the bid.

CIB President Fred Glass said early indications are Indianapolis will proceed with its bid.
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