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Sports Business

Toyota takes over Southwest's spot at Lucas Oil Stadium

August 21, 2013

Colts fans entering Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time this year for Saturday’s preseason game against Cleveland will see a new set-up in the northwest corner of the venue.

Replacing Southwest Airlines’ decorum in the concourse is an elaborate interactive Toyota display. The display includes video walls showing factory highlights and vehicle footage, a 2013 Highlander with a digital wheel stand display; a pair of multi-dimensional monitors featuring Toyota products and Colts players; and an interactive player wall which also showcases the 11 central Indiana Toyota dealers.

The concourse originally was decorated with Air Tran Airlines items, and then with Southwest things after Southwest bought the airline. Southwest dropped its sponsorship deal due to a decreased presence in Indianapolis, Colts officials say.

Colts officials recently announced an extended and expanded agreement with the Japanese carmaker, making Toyota the official team vehicle through 2017. Toyota has been a Colts sponsor since 2010.

Though financial terms were not disclosed, sports marketers estimate the annual price tag in the low seven figures. In addition to the concourse display, Toyota will have its logo on the team’s away game press backdrop.

In 2008, when Lucas Oil Stadium opened, team officials estimated the annual cost of one of the four interior corners on the stadium’s main level at $750,000.

A big part of Toyota’s Lucas Oil Stadium display—and larger sponsorship deal—will be highlighting Toyota’s Indiana presence, company officials said.

“The Toyota concourse celebrates the company’s numerous vehicles, as well as our hard-working manufacturing associates and dealer partners in the state of Indiana,” said Kevin Fletcher, general manager of the Chicago Region (which includes Indianapolis) for Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.

Toyota’s plant in Princeton assembles the Highlander, Sienna and Sequoia. The Camry is assembled in Lafayette at the Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. plant. Toyota directly employs more than 4,500 people in Indiana, with an additional 12,900 local jobs affected indirectly, Toyota officials said.

“With Toyota vehicles being built in Indiana, it makes sense this brand be associated with Indiana's own Indianapolis Colts,” said Jay Souers, Colts senior vice president of sponsorship sales.

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