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.