Colts fans let Lucas hear it

August 19, 2008
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lucasLucas Oil Products Inc., and its owner Forrest Lucas, are taking a beating from IBJ readers after his request that Indianapolis Colts fans and local media not call the team's new stadium "The Luke." Lucas pointed out that one of his competitors is LukOil, a Russian-owned New Jersey based firm making a big push in the U.S. He’s concerned The Luke nickname will give his competitor a big marketing boost. Lucas may have double trouble. An IBJ reader also pointed out that there’s a Hobart-based Luke Oil Co., which has 15 retail gas stations and other enterprises in northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. And the Hobart-based Luke Oil appears to be growing.

That aside, I was surprised at how much backlash there was against Lucas personally over his request. Isn’t his $121.5 million naming rights deal with the Colts going to help the team remain competitive over the next 20 years? And I think those who are calling Lucas an elitist, have him all wrong. A businessman intent on protecting his interests, yes. A corporate snob, no way. 

This is a guy who takes his own calls and never shies away from answering a single question. Heck, he’s even given me his and his wife’s cell phone numbers in case I need to reach him in a hurry. He takes calls when he's in the office, on the road or on vacation. That’s pretty unusual access for a corporate CEO these days. If Lucas has made any mistakes since signing the naming rights deal, it’s probably that he’s been too open and honest—at least from a marketing perspective. That's the kind of mistake I can live with.
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  • I agree. Forrest, thank you, your wife and company, for all you have done for the state.
  • I am sure a lot of those beating him up are probably haters of the Stadium or corporate naming rights or the Colts or his wealth. I would not beat him up, but I do feel he is taking the wrong approach to this.

    People will call it what they want. Few in Denver call it Invesco Field, they call it Mile High. I know many who refuse to use the name Verizon Wireless Center and still call it Deer Creek. For the same thing, I know many who called the RCA Dome the Hoosier Dome or Dome to this day. What he needs to do his embrace The Luke as a nickname. He needs to make it synonymous with Lucas Oil. As the story says, most people have probably never heard of Lukoil or Luke Oil in Hobart. If he ties The Luke into his advertising, people will think of his company when they hear it. Most people are not huge fans of impersonal corporate names on stadiums and try to make it simpler, easier and more folksy. Mr. Lucas, embrace The Luke and ignore the Russians and the Hobartans.
  • Not a fan of the stadium deal that was struck between the politicians and Jim Irsay, but that doesn't reflect upon Mr. Lucas naming rights deal.

    The only thing I request is that he move his headquarters to Indiana so we can take pride in the name. A lot of good will is lost knowing it is a California company with very little connection to our city.
  • If I was plucking down $121 million my attorney's would have a clause on the naming right, and have a penalty if it was not adhered to, or a kick out clause. He has every right to want the name as he paid for it....I am surprised Irsay has not put the burden on the taxpayer's to make it right !
    I think The Luke sounds like crap anyway....
  • You think maybe some people are calling it The Luke because we're a little embarrassed to have a $750M stadium named after oil products. As Adam said above, maybe if he moved his headquarters and truly became an Indiana company we'd be more inclined to refer to it by it's proper name.
  • How 'bout this, everytime I refer to the stadium as The Luke, I'll head to my nearest autoparts store and buy a bottle of Lucas Oil Fuel Treatment. That should offset any negative impact caused by me saying The Luke. Damn! Now I gotta buy 2 bottles:)
  • It's pretty amazing to me that no one balked much at calling NASCAR's top series the Winston Cup for years, yet calling the Colts' new home Lucas Oil Stadium is a big issue. Jeez!
  • Why not call it The Forrest?

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  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...

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